The Coroner’s Inquest into the deaths of five men killed in an incident at Hawkeswood Metal Recycling, Nechells, Birmingham in 2016 started this week.
Five workers aged between 40 and 56 were killed when a wall collapsed on them at the site in the Nechells area in July 2016 (see letsrecycle.com story).
A widow, whose husband was among five men killed when a wall collapsed at a recycling centre, told the inquest she has still not brought herself to tell her children two years later.
The five victims were crushed by the 15ft concrete wall in Birmingham on July 7 2016, while clearing out a scrap metal storage bay.
Birmingham Coroner’s Court heard how Senegal-born Ousmane Diaby, 39, and Saibo Sillah, 42, Bangally Dukuray, 55, Almamo Jammeh, 45, and Mahamadou Jagana, 49,all originally from Gambia, were working at Hawkeswood Metal Recycling in Nechells at the time of the incident.
Mr Jammeh’s wife Awa Dibba said the accident had “torn my world apart” and she still had not told her children about his death.
Three other widows told the inquest on Wednesday that they had struggled to cope with life as their husband was the main provider for the family.
All the victims were married, working men who had arrived in the UK from Spain, and had been living in Birmingham.
Coroner Emma Brown said: “They were clearing out a scrap metal storage bay when one of the walls, made of heavy concrete blocks, fell on to them.
“A 999 call was made at 8.45am, emergency services attended and it was identified that all five men were deceased.
“A sixth man was severely injured in that incident but he was extricated and taken to hospital.”
(above: Aerial view of the site in 2016 of rescue crews moving material – Sky News)
Ms Dibba said in a statement: “Almamo worked so hard and loved his family.
“His death has torn the family apart both here and back home in Gambia. It has devastated us. The little children ask every day for their dad, they don’t know he has died.”
Aminata Kaba, the wife of Mr Diaby, said she found out about her husband’s death after people spoke about it on WhatsApp.
She told the inquest: “Someone told me he had died – I heard people had put it on WhatsApp as they weren’t aware of who his close family were.
“Then someone came to the mosque to say he had died. My uncle also heard and told me about the death of my husband.
“I last spoke to Ousmane on July 6, during the night. He asked me if I loved him, I told him I did and he was the only person I loved.
“I was really shocked when I heard about his death.”
Mr Dukuray’s wife, Hawa Kaba, said: “I can only describe the effect as absolutely devastating and I cannot believe he has passed away. Since my husband’s death my son has become very quiet and withdrawn.
“I have found life a huge struggle and I miss him daily.”
Mr Sillah’s cousin had a statement read out by a court officer which said his family “meant everything” and he would work seven days a week, every minute he could, to provide for his family in Gambia.
The inquest continues.
Detectives from West Midlands Police are investigating the deaths alongside the Health and Safety Executive.
Report: Press Association