Probe into trailer crash that injured 17

AT LEAST one person is still being treated in hospital last night after a trailer carrying 17 people overturned on farmland in Essex.

An investigation was under way after the accident was declared a major incident by emergency services called to deal with the casualties after the trailer overturned in Great Bentley.

Two emergency helicopters were called to the scene of the accident which happened during an organised shoot on Lodge Farm in Plough Road.

The casualties, who were all in the trailer when it over turned at about 12.50pm, were working as beaters – employed to flush out birds such as pheasants from cover in the direction of guns.

The Essex Air Ambulance transported two of the people who were most badly injured – a man with cuts and bruises and a woman suffering serious injuries – to Queen’s Hospital in Romford.

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A further 11 men were taken to Colchester Hospital.

Ten of the men suffered minor injuries, including cuts and bruises, and one suffered serious injuries.

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Another four people who had been on the trailer were treated at the scene and sent home.

A major incident was declared at Colchester’s Accident and Emergency ward from 2pm to 4pm while the victims – who were all described by emergency services as “elderly” – received treatment.

The hospital said the range of injuries that were suffered included a lacerated scalp, torn tendons and fractured ribs.

One patient stayed Colchester Hospital overnight but it was unclear last night whether the two people admitted to Romford were also kept in.

Farmer David Gibbon, who organised the shooting party, described it as “an accident, pure and simple.”

“We’ve been shooting on this farm since 1907 and this is the first accident we have ever had – it’s very unfortunate,” he said.

“The tractor was pulling the trailer from one drive to the next and couldn’t have been going more than 5mph.

“People are investigating what happened, but what I can say is that it was on a slope, we’ve had a lot of rain and the ground was very slippery.

“We are very conscious of health and safety and the trailer was closed in so nobody fell out. People got bumped around and there were a few nasty cuts, but nobody is in a life-threatening condition.”

The incident has been referred to the Health and Safety Executive which will carry out an investigation.

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