Crane falls into Cambridgeshire drain killing driver

Partially submerged crane in river
Image caption Emergency service personnel battled to save the crane driver

A man was killed when the 27-ton crane he was driving collapsed and he became trapped under freezing water in a large drainage channel in Cambridgeshire.

The accident happened in the morning on a riverside track at Mepal, half way between Ely and Chatteris.

Fire crews sent to the track, off the A142 near the Old Bedford River, broke the glass of the cab so the man's head and shoulders were above water.

But a fire service spokeswoman said the Environment Agency worker had died.

'Extremely upset'

Incident commander for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service Julian Fountain said: "All agencies have worked extremely closely together to make every effort to fully release the man from the water as quickly as possible.

"However, due to the location of the crane, the freezing weather conditions and the fact that the man was trapped, this could not happen in time.

"This is an extremely tragic incident. Our thoughts go out to the man's family."

The Environment Agency, which said it had been carrying out de-silting work along the river, said it would mount an internal inquiry and co-operate with a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation.

"I, and everyone at the Environment Agency are extremely upset by today's tragic incident," said area manager Geoff Brighty.

"All our thoughts and sympathies are with our colleague's family and friends."

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