Inquest into five deaths continue

2016-11-16 06:00
Joey Ried and Grayson Brooker.

Joey Ried and Grayson Brooker.

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An emotional Homevale Waste Treatment Plant laboratory general worker, Angela Sei, had to stop a number of times to wipe away her tears while delivering her testimony in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Friday (11/11).

Sei gave the court her version of what happened on 6 November at the plant when five of her colleagues died.

Joey Ried, Pule Bosman, Clement Mokae, Raymond Newman en Neville Kock died after they were apparently overcome by methane gas. Sei told the court that, on the fateful day, Trevor Naidoo, a controller at the plant, warned the five not to enter the pump station, which was leaking sewerage sludge as well as methane and other gases.

She said Naidoo had asked for a plastic pole and had taken a few steps down the stairs of the pump station to poke at one of the bodies, before confirming it to be that of Joey Reid, whom they at the time thought had been above the sludge.

She recalled how the four other deceased had run past her to try and rescue Ried. She was leaving the station at that time and was only informed later that the four had also died in the pump station.

Sei said there was a strong smell of rotten eggs around the pump station, which made her feel nauseous and caused her to vomit.

Another witness, Grayson Brooker, a water quality controller at the plant, also mentioned the smell when he testified on Thursday (10/11). He said the smell was a sign that methane gas had been released into the air.

According to Sei, there is an instrument that can be used to detect methane gas, but as far as she knew, this had not been used.

The inquest has been postponed and will resume next year on 15 May.

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