Farm worker tells of desperate efforts to save King’s Lynn man who died in grain silo

Arthur Mason, who died aged 21 on his family's farm at Fincham.

Arthur Mason, who died aged 21 on his family's farm at Fincham. - Credit: Archant

A farm worker has today told of his desperate efforts to save a colleague trapped in a grain silo.

Arthur Mason, 21, got into difficulty while cleaning the silo in west Norfolk and fellow worker Mark Funge heard his cries for help.

'All I heard was a muffled shout,' he told a Norwich inquest this afternoon. 'I looked over the top and all I could see was the top of Arthur's helmet with his arms up in the air above his head.

'I got in the grain bin and tried to pull his arms to get him out.'

He described taking a sledge hammer to a wooden door on the silo and grain 'pouring out onto the walkway' before emergency services arrived.

Mr Mason's father Hugh, who was at the hearing, covered his face with both hands as Mr Funge gave evidence.

Arthur Mason, of Eastmoor, King's Lynn, had been working with colleague James Legg to clean the silo from the inside, using the grain as a working platform.

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The grain silos at Hall Farm, Fincham, near King's Lynn, hold around 40 tonnes of grain each, and the level would be lowered around three times so the entire silo could be cleaned with a broom.

The inquest heard concerns that the usual method of working had not been followed in this case, with Mr Mason standing on moving grain as it was lowered, instead of getting out of the silo while the level was lowered.

Under questioning, Mr Funge agreed that this was dangerous.

He said that Mr Mason was wearing a safety harness and the lance was pulled tight.

Mr Mason was pronounced dead at the farm on July 9, 2014.

In a written statement, student farmer Mr Legg said if you stood atop the still grain you would sink only to your knees.

He added: 'I don't believe Arthur did anything to put his life at risk.

'He was doing everything right.'

The jury inquest is set to last for three days.

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