Claims News

Boy Dies due to Inhaling Fumes from a Slurry Pit – Father in Hospital

Posted on: June 10th, 2014

An eight-year-old boy has died due to inhaling fumes from a slurry pit in a tragic family accident which resulted in the boy´s father fighting for his life in a Belfast hospital.

On request of the Robert Christie´s family, few details of how the eight-year-old boy died due to inhaling fumes from a slurry pit have yet been released by police, but it is believed that Robert and his father – Bertie Christie – were mixing slurry on a neighbour´s farm in Donloy, County Antrim.

Father and son were discovered late on Saturday afternoon by a postman visiting the farm, and the emergency services were called. Robert was taken to Belfast´s Royal Victoria Hospital by air ambulance where he was pronounced dead, while Bertie remains in a critical condition at the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine.

Barclay Bell – Deputy President of the Ulster Farmers Union – offered an explanation of how the accident may have occurred.

He said that slurry pits at often full of animal waste that has accumulated since the winter to be used as fertilizer. While it is stored in the pits, a lethal combination of gasses develops – most seriously methane and hydrogen sulphide – which release poisonous fumes as the slurry is agitated to be used on the fields.

It is often difficult to know when the poisonous fumes have dispersed because they have no smell and, as the gasses from which the fumes are produced are heavier than air, they tend to remain lower to the ground – potentially explaining how Bertie Christie did not sustain such a serious injury as his son.

Northern Ireland´s Health and Safety Executive are already investigating Robert´s death due to inhaling fumes from a slurry pit the organization´s Chief Executive -Keith Morrison – had this message for the grieving family: “Incidents like this show starkly the dangers which our farming communities face and my heart goes out to those affected by this tragic accident”.

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