The incident happened in the early hours of 7th July 2016 at Hawkeswood Metal Recycling Depot on Aston Church Road in the Nechells area of the city.
The emergency services were called to the scene but unfortunately five of the men involved were found dead. West Midlands Ambulance Service was reported to say, “Sadly, there was nothing that could be done to save the five men”. A sixth man was saved sustaining only broken legs and is now being treated in hospital. The men were all temporary workers at the depot
It is unsure exactly how the incident was caused but it is known that a 15ft tall wall collapsed causing the men to be buried under tonnes of concrete and steel scrap. The emergency services team advised, “The scene is an extremely challenging one for us, involving significant tonnage of concrete and metals and a structure that is still unstable”.
The men are all believed to be originally from the Gambia and go by the names of Saibo Sillah, Alimamo Jammeh, Ousman Jabbie, Bangaly Dukureh and Mohammed Jagana. Families and friends who gathered outside the plant were deeply distressed. The news comes as the community celebrated Eid together only yesterday. One onlooker Manka Sawo explained “It is a tight community. We pray in the same mosques…they (the men) were very hard-working.” A friend of one of the men commented “(He) had bought flight tickets for his wife and children to join him in UK this Saturday”.
Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted “(I am) shocked to hear about the tragedy in Birmingham. My thoughts are with the families of those involved.”
Health and safety officials and the police are investigating the incident to understand what went wrong. It has also been reported by the Birmingham mail that the plant had faced a hefty fine in 2012, after a worker’s arm (Ansumana Jammeh) became trapped in a piece of machinery.