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Environment Agency admits health and safety failings over death of crane driver on the Old Bedford River at Mepal

The crane on its side in the Old Bedford River, at Mepal, near Ely, after the accident in 2010.

The crane on its side in the Old Bedford River, at Mepal, near Ely, after the accident in 2010.

MAGPAS

The Environment Agency today admitted health and safety failings over the death of a driver who drowned when his crane fell into a river.

Simon Wenn, 43, of Three Holes, near Wisbech, died after the crane he was operating toppled over into the Old Bedford River at Mepal in December 2010.

His employer, the Environment Agency, today admitted failing to ensure the safety of employees. Two other charges were withdrawn by the Health and Safety Executive, which investigated the accident.

The case has been committed to Cambridge Crown Court for sentencing at a later date.

Mr Wenn, who had more than six years’ experience operating cranes, had been dredging the shallow Old Bedford when his crane slipped on the icy banks.

At an inquest into his death earlier this year, the coroner was told that emergency services reached the scene within 10 minutes.

Rescue teams managed to free Mr Wenn’s head and shoulders from the cab and bring them above the icy water - but his leg was trapped by the crane preventing a full escape.

He was confirmed dead two hours later by a doctor at the scene. Jurors at the inquest returned a verdict of accidental death.

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