Five men have died after a wall collapsed at the Hawkeswood Metal recycling centre in Nechells, Birmingham, West Midlands Police has said. Two bodies have been removed from the scene.
The men died following an incident at the facility, on Aston Church Road, on Thursday (7 July) morning. Officers were called by West Midlands Ambulance Service at 8.45am to reports that a wall had collapsed.
Emergency services attended but the men could not be saved and were pronounced dead at the scene. Another man has been taken to hospital with serious leg injuries. An investigation into what happened is now underway. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been notified and are assisting officers at the scene.
Detective Superintendent Mark Payne, from Force CID, said: "We are still in the very early stages of this investigation to determine exactly what happened this morning. Sadly five people have lost their lives and we have several teams of specialist officers supporting their families at this time.
"This has been a very traumatic incident for those who were at the site this morning and we will continue to work alongside the Health and Safety Executive and other emergency services at the scene."
West Midlands Ambulance Service said: "Two ambulances, a paramedic area support officer, the Midlands Air Ambulance from Cosford with the MERIT Trauma Doctor on board, the Hazardous Area Response Team, a senior paramedic officer and an emergency planning officer were sent to the scene.
"On arrival, ambulance crews found a wall that had collapsed. Sadly, there was nothing that could be done to save the five men who had been working next to it.
"A sixth man was partially trapped by the falling concrete but had managed to get out from the rubble himself. He was treated at the scene by ambulance staff and the doctor from the air ambulance for a broken leg before he was taken to Heartlands Hospital for further treatment."
A description on the company's website says the facility "receives, separates and prepares recyclable materials" before producing "a range of high quality outputs. The materials are then baled into half-tonne capacity bales and shipped to national and international markets".
The tragedy comes months after a fire at the plant tore through 800 tonnes of stacked recycling materials. More than 100 firefighters tackled the blaze using 17 fire engines and a nearby river as a source of water. The tower of smoke spiralled so high the fire service warned Birmingham Airport.
Mixed plastic, rubber and metal went up in flames, West Midlands Fire Service said, in a fire thought to have been started accidentally.