Two farmers drowned in slurry pit after attempting to remove blockage

The two men died on Newlands Farm, East Yorkshire (Photo: Google Maps)
The two men died on Newlands Farm, East Yorkshire (Photo: Google Maps)

Two farmers died in a slurry accident after entering it to remove a blockage, an inquest into their deaths has explained.

Alexander Forman, 32, and Richard Pooley, 36 entered the slurry pit on Newlands Farm, East Yorkshire, in December 2015.

It’s likely the two men went into the slurry pit to clear a blockage, Hull Coroner's Court heard.

According to pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd, the farmers entered the pit and drowned in pig manure.

He said the pair would have been overcome with toxic slurry fumes within a matter of seconds.

No criminal charges have been brought against anyone in connection with the tragedy, the officer of the case concluded.

The inquest will continue for its second day (18 May).

Slurry incidents

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), incidents involving slurry occur regularly on farms in the UK.

These incidents include people, not just farmers, being overcome by toxic gases, drowning as a result of a fall into slurry or liquid stores, or being injured from the collapse of structures containing slurry.

Slurry is broken down by bacterial action which produces gases. Slurry gas includes methane, carbon monoxide, ammonia and hydrogen sulphide, all of which can create a risk to human and animal health.

Some gases are flammable, others are toxic and some will displace oxygen from the air, causing a risk of asphyxiation.

Agriculture remains the most dangerous profession in the UK – yet many of the fatalities and serious injuries reported each year can be easily avoided.

Figures from the HSE have revealed that in 2016/17, agriculture had the highest rate of fatal injury, around 18 times higher than the All Industry rate.