South West Wales

Steelman Kevin Downey's death was accidental - inquest

Kevin Downey
Image caption Kevin Downey was helped by colleagues but died later in hospital

A jury has recorded a verdict of accidental death at an inquest after hearing a steel worker died after falling into hot liquid waste.

Kevin Downey, 49, was working at the Tata steelworks in Port Talbot which, at the time of his death in 2006, was owned by Corus.

Colleagues called him a hero after an explosion at the plant in 2001.

Three workers, Stephen Galsworthy, 25, Andrew Hutin, 20, and Len Radford, 53, were killed in that explosion.

Mr Downey was said to have been pivotal in shutting the furnace down after the explosion and making the area safe.

The inquest into his death heard that he fell from a veranda in a blast furnace in the early hours of 25 April, 2006.

Slag runner

The jury at the inquest into Mr Downey's death heard that following his fall he told colleagues he had been trying to move away from hot steam. He died later at Swansea's Morriston Hospital.

The inquest, which was held in Swansea, heard the liquid metal slag often reached temperatures of 1,400 degrees centigrade.

Mr Downey, who had worked at the plant since he left school, was said to have been conscious when workmates pulled him from the piece of equipment known as a slag runner.

In a statement released after his death his family thanked his colleagues who helped him immediately after the accident.

They described the father-of-two as "a great family man who will be sadly missed by us all."

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