Grain ‘fell like sand’ around King’s Lynn student who was buried alive on farm

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 frantic battle to save a buried-alive student was hampered as grain 'fell like sand' around him.

Arthur Mason, 21, died in a silo at a west Norfolk farm after he sank under masses of wheat and was asphyxiated,

He had been working on a harness inside the silo at Hall Farm, Fincham, to clean it with a broom.

But he got into difficulty as he remained standing on the grain as it started to move, as the level was lowered.

Emergency medical technician Christopher Ripley joined other ambulance and fire service staff in trying to shovel grain out of a hatch near the bottom of the silo, which could hold 40 tonnes of grain.

'I could eventually feel the patient's body in the grain,' he told yesterday's Norwich inquest. 'I could feel his hand but the hatch was not at the bottom of the silo - it was about 2ft above.

'We were desperately trying to get him through the hatch.'

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He said it 'seemed to be an eternity' to get him free.

Raymond McAllister, duty locality officer for the ambulance service, said grain was 'falling like sand' as colleagues tried to dig Mr Mason free.

The inquest heard it was too dangerous for paramedics to get into the silo.

Mr Mason, of Eastmoor, King's Lynn, was a former pupil of Langley School in Loddon and a history student at The University of Gloucestershire in Cheltenham.

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

The jury inquest is set to conclude today.

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