Two men killed after farm wall collapses

An investigation is under way after two men died when a wall collapsed on a farm in the Falkirk area.

The incident happened at about 10.10am on Monday, 6 May at Myrehead Farm, which is located just off the A803, between Linlithgow and Falkirk.

Peter Walker, 53, from Blackburn, Lancashire and James Henderson, 48, who was known as Paul, from Grangemouth, Falkirk, both suffered serious injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene.

See also: Q&A – Changes to farm health and safety investigation fees

The men were undertaking maintenance work on a wall at the farm in the Whitecross area when it collapsed, fatally injuring them.

Two other men, aged 21 and 36, were taken to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow and the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh after they were seriously injured as a result of the collapse. Neither is believed to have suffered life-threatening injuries.

It is understood that the men were digging drain channels when part of the 7ft sandstone wall collapsed. 

Experienced construction firm

The land at Myrehead Farm is owned by William Henderson, who told the Daily Express that the building work was being carried out by an experienced construction firm.

He said: “The contractor works in drainage and foundations. He’s a very experienced contractor. They’ve been at site off and on for four weeks.

“I don’t know what happened because I wasn’t there. The contractor was on the site but he wasn’t injured. I haven’t spoken to him yet. He’s pretty upset.”

Mr Henderson added: “It was a sandstone wall in the yard. It’s perhaps six or seven feet tall. 

“It wasn’t part of the steading, which is a very solid building. It’s an old farm steading which has been occupied off and on.

“It’s not derelict and has passed inspections. I’ve owned the land for 20 years.

“It’s very upsetting. I’ve met one or two of the workers in passing. There’s six or seven on the squad who have been working there.”

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said on Sunday: “We responded at 10.11am on Monday, 6 May with emergency service partners to a farm in the Falkirk area following reports of a collapsed wall.

“Operations control mobilised a number of fire appliances to the Whitecross area and firefighters currently remain in attendance.”

The owners were granted planning permission to convert the steading and a historic millhouse to form four homes, with planning approval for a further six residential properties.

Inquiries ongoing

Police Scotland said inquiries to establish the full circumstances are ongoing and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have been informed.

Det Chief Inspector Jim Thomson of Forth Valley CID said: “Our thoughts and sympathies remain with the families of Peter and Paul, as well as all those affected by this tragic incident, at this very difficult time.

“A multi-agency investigation is underway to establish exactly what happened and provide both men’s loved ones, and their workmates, with the answers they require.

“If anyone believes they may have any information relevant to this inquiry then please come forward.”

Anyone with information should contact Police Scotland via 101 and quote incident number 1081 of 6 May.

Poultry farmer tragedy

Meanwhile, tributes have been paid to a Shropshire poultry farmer who has died following a plane crash in Canada.

Alan Simpson, 73, from Prees, was one of two pilots who was killed after a light aircraft crashed into the mountains in the Labrador region in bad weather on Wednesday (1 May).

Mr Simpson, who ran Alan Simpson Farming, one of the UK’s largest single site broiler farms, had been flying for more than 30 years. His family said he would be “deeply missed”.

In a statement, his family said: “Alan was a vibrant character who lived life to the max and will be deeply missed by the extensive group of family and friends he has left behind.”