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  1. Updates on Friday 8 July 2016

Live Reporting

By Stephanie Barnard

All times stated are UK

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Latest weather for the West Midlands

Latest weather for the West Midlands
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Boubakaray Sera, begs for news of his brother Bangaly Dukureh at Hawkeswood Recycling.

Rebecca Woods

Broadcast Journalist BBC News Online

Family and friends of the five men killed at Hawkeswood Recycling in Birmingham face a wait for bodies to be released

Read more
Nechells wall collapse

All the bodies are recovered from a recycling plant in Birmingham where a wall collapsed, killing five workers.

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Our coverage through the day

We're winding down our live coverage on the deaths of five men at a metal recycling plant in Nechells.

We'll be back with you from 08:00 on Monday with our usual mix of news, sport, travel and weather, but keep an eye out here for more updates this evening and into the morning.

You can also stay up to date overnight on the BBC News website.

Have a great weekend.  

Fire service wreath for five victims

The fire service formally pays its respects to the victims of yesterday's wall collapse.

View more on twitter

'We will come together' - Birmingham's Gambian community

Rebecca Woods

BBC News Online, Journalist

More from Lamin Yaffa, chairman of the Gambian Islamic Centre in Smethwick:

He said the Gambian community in Birmingham would now unite to help them through the tragedy.

"We are a very strong community. As Muslims, this is our way of life.

"This is what motivates us - to come together at these times."

Donations total more than £16k to 'cover cost of victims' funerals'


A donation page set up at 21:00 yesterday has received more than £16,000 in donations.

The Birmingham Mail teamed up with the Lord Mayor's Charity Appeal to raise money for the families of the five men who died.

Mark Reeves from the newspaper told us: "The human scale really hit home so last night we decided to launch an appeal to raise money to help the families."

Sixth man caught in wall collapse 'doing well'

Rebecca Woods

BBC News Online, Journalist

A sixth man caught in yesterday's wall collapse managed to free himself - he's being treated in hospital for a broken leg.

Lamin Yaffa, chairman of the Gambian Islamic Centre in Smethwick, said at a community meeting earlier: "Some people have been to see him and they say he's doing well."  

He added there were several more members of Birmingham's Gambian community who worked at Hawkeswood Metal in Nechells where the accident happened.  

'Huge tragedy' says archdeacon

Rob Mayor

Reporter, BBC WM

The Archdeacon of Aston, Simon Heathfield, describes the deaths as a "huge tragedy" and said his "thoughts and prayers are with families affected".

He added: "This will stretch across the West Midlands as people came to work here from across the region."

The Archdeacon of Aston, Simon Heathfield

Killed men 'understood to be agency staff' - police

West Midlands Police says its investigators continue to work with specialist fire colleagues and the Health and Safety Executive to try to understand what caused the wall - made up of several 1.5 tonne concrete blocks - to give way.

A spokesperson added: "Formal identification of the victims, who are understood to be from the local Gambian community and were agency staff working at the facility, will take place in due course." 

'We're considering the dignity of victims', says fire service

Simon Hardiman from the fire service has released a short video message following the recovery of all five bodies in Nechells.

View more on twitter

DNA to identify victims of Birmingham wall collapse

Here's Det Supt Mark Payne on where the investigation goes next, including the ID process. 

At the site, he says, work continues to ensure it is safe: "Then we will work with the HSE to see exactly what the cause of this incident was.

"Then we will take appropriate action once we know."

Police 'doing everything they can to support victims' families'

Rebecca Woods

BBC News Online, Journalist

Supt Andy Parsons is holding a meeting with the Gambian community at a mosque in Windmill Lane, Smethwick, in the hope of reassuring people that West Midlands Police will do everything it can to support the victims' families.

He says he will keep the community informed of the investigation and how it is progressing.

But the bodies of the men, he says, will not be released for their funerals until the cause of death has been established and initial investigations have been carried out.

Formal ID process begins

Now all five bodies have been recovered, police have to move on to the task of formal identification.

Det Supt Mark Payne of the West Midlands force says the process is not simple.

"Without going into too much detail some of the identification may not be straightforward. DNA or other methods may be used." 

Det Supt Mark Payne

The bodies will be taken to a mortuary in Coventry which, Det Supt Payne says, has the appropriate specialist equipment.    

Wall collapse deaths: The developments so far

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

We're bringing you live updates following the death of five men at a metal recycling plant in Nechells yesterday. Here's the latest:

  • All five bodies have been recovered 
  • Police ask 'is anybody to blame or is this just a tragic accident'?  
  • More than £15,000 has been donated by members of the public to the victims' families  
  • Friends and family had pleaded with emergency crews to recover bodies quickly
  • Collapsed wall's concrete blocks needed drilling due to their size and weight

'We have nowhere else to go' - the anxious wait, now over

Rebecca Woods

BBC News Online, Journalist

Up to 50 concerned members of the public - among them the victims' families and friends - had been anxiously waiting outside the site for news of the two bodies yet to be recovered.

They have now been extracted from the rubble.

One man had pleaded with emergency crews to find his brother, saying "please God, take him out". Among onlookers' concerns was that the men needed to be buried quickly in line with the Islamic faith.

"We feel helpless," one person in the crowd told me earlier. "We have nowhere else to go."

People gather at the scene

BreakingFourth and fifth bodies extracted from rubble

All five bodies have now been recovered.

The first two were recovered yesterday evening and a third earlier today.

Police asking 'is anybody to blame or is this just a tragic accident?'

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

Police have launched a full investigation to determine how five men died at a metal recycling site in Nechells yesterday morning.

Detective Superintendent Mark Payne said: "We're launching a full investigation which will include 'is anybody to blame or is this just a tragic accident? Are there criminal matters? Are there matters for the Health and Safety Executive'?"

He added: "We will explore all the facts and we are working for a conclusion as to whether this is a matter for a prosecution or whether it was just a tragic accident."

Police speaking to media and family members outside the metal recycling plant in Nechells

£14k in donations to victims' families

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

Donations have soared to £14k in the past hour for the family of those killed in Nechells yesterday.

£14,170 raised for victim families in Nechelles
Just Giving

Individual donations range from £5 to £100 and there's been a surge over the last three hours in which the total has doubled.

The online donations page has been set up by the Lord Mayor's Charity Appeal and the Birmingham Mail.

One person who donated wrote on the webpage: "Sincere condolences at this tragic time. Our thoughts and deepest sympathy are with you and your families."

Three-strand operation to recover remaining bodies

The recovery operation is having to juggle three demands, according to West Midlands Fire Service.

Simon Hardiman, head of fire safety, said: "We understand it's a difficult situation for everyone involved but we have to ensure the safety of our crews and balance against the dignity of those involved and the investigation as to what's happened here."

Three of five bodies have been recovered and Mr Hardiman said the operation to reclaim the rest from the rubble was "in the final stages".

He added: "We're working alongside police colleagues to gather forensic evidence as we move through the scene."

Watch: Police respond to frustration of the anxious wait

A number of practical difficulties are affecting the recovery operation.

Wall collapse: 'We're working as quickly as we can'

Watch: Plea for bodies to be recovered quickly

People gathered at the recycling plant in Birmingham where five men died have appealed for the bodies to be recovered and buried quickly - in accordance with Islam.

Plea for Birmingham wall collapse bodies to be recovered quickly

'Victim's' car remains parked at plant

Among the many people gathered here are friends of Alimamo Jammeh, named locally as among the five killed. His car - a blue Renault Clio - is still parked outside the plant.

"He was a very hard working man," one friend said.

Men gather around killed worker's car

Coming up on BBC Midlands Today: Latest on the deaths of five men

Elizabeth Glinka

BBC Midlands Today

A third body has been recovered from tonnes of metal and concrete after a wall collapsed at a recycling plant in Birmingham. 

Five workers were killed when it came down yesterday morning at Hawskewood Metal Recycling in Nechells. 

Our reporter Sarah Falkland will join us live on BBC One at 13:30 with the latest developments.

Emergency services at the metal recycling plant in Nechells

Man believed to be among victims was excited about his family's arrival

A man who owns the Aston flat where Alimamo Jammeh was staying says the married father was excited about moving to bigger premises to accommodate his family who were coming to the UK to live with him.

Mr Jammeh is said locally to be among the five wall collapse victims  

Gulbahar Khan said: "He was very happy and saying 'I want my children with me'."'

Alimamo Jammeh
Lang Dampha
Alimamo Jammeh is believed to be among the five to die at the recycling plant

Wall collapse deaths: Today's developments

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

We're bringing you live updates on the death of five men at a metal recycling plant in Nechells. Here's a roundup of today's developments:

  • A third body has been recovered
  • Emergency services resumed efforts to recover the remaining bodies this morning
  • Crews hope to have all bodies recovered by the end of the day
  • Victim's brother pleaded with emergency services: "Please God, take him out"
  • The five are believed to be Spanish nationals of Gambian origin and have been named locally  
  • All are said to have been married with children
  • More than £6,000 has been raised by the Birmingham Mail for the victims' families

All five men said to have been married with children

The five dead, Spanish nationals originally from Gambia, were working to clean out a metal storage bay when a 15ft wall collapsed on them. They'd been employed by a recruitment agency.

In addition to Alimamo Kinteh-Jammeh and Bangaly Dukureh about whom we've been telling you this morning, members of Birmingham's Gambian community have named the other three as Saibo Sillah, Ousman Jabbie and Mohammed Jangana. All five are said to have been married with children.

Crowds gather outside Nechells recycling plant
Crowds have gathered at the site, with some among the number naming the men

'This is a painstaking operation'

Rebecca Woods

BBC News Online, Journalist

Families and friends of the victims stood among reporters as West Midlands Fire Service gave a news conference outside the recycling plant.

Three bodies have now been recovered.

One man asked: "When will the bodies be taken out, will it definitely be today?"

Area Commander Ben Brook replied: "We anticipate it will be today. This is a painstaking operation."

Fire service speaking to media and family members gathering outside Nechells

BreakingThird body recovered from rubble

Rebecca Woods

BBC News Online, Journalist

A third body has been recovered from the Nechells recycling plant, area commander for West Midlands Fire Service, Ben Brook, tells me.

Two bodies are still buried under concrete and metal. Crews have been drilling into heavy concrete blocks in order to remove them and get to the bodies trapped underneath.

'Please God, take him out' - victim's brother pleads with officers

A brother of one of the men who died in Nechells has pleaded with police officers to recover his body.

Boubakaray Sera said: "Please God, take him out," adding he was the "only one left" after the death of sibling, Bangaly Dukureh.

He said of his brother: "He was very healthy, there was nothing wrong with him. Then one day he came here and he's dead."

An emotional brother of one of the men who died in Nechells pleads with police officers to recover his body.

Officers continue to work to recover three bodies. Two were removed from rubble yesterday evening.  

Family of 'killed man' was 'due to come to UK to live with him'

Lang Dampha, from Aston, says he knows two of the men who have been killed.

One is Alimamo Kinteh-Jammeh, aged in his 40s. He was married with children and his family had been due to travel to the UK so they could live here together. On the day he died, he was to collect keys for a new property.

Mr Dampha (pictured) said: "I was working and I got a call, and they said 'five of our guys have died'. I can't believe it."

Lang Dampha, 48, from Aston

Donations for victims' families double in a few hours

Stephanie Barnard

BBC Local Live

Donations to the Birmingham Mail's online page raising money to support the families of the five men killed in Nechells has more than doubled in a couple of hours.

More than £4,600 has been raised, with a further £1k donated offline by the newspaper's charity fund.

Newspaper's charity donations page
Just Giving

At the scene: Weeping man begs emergency crews for information

Rebecca Woods

BBC News Online, Journalist

After 24 hours of waiting for news, tensions are running high at Hawkeswood Metal. A dozen men are waiting for news of their loved ones.

One of them broke down in tears, begging police and fire officers for information.

"This is killing me. My brother is there. I don't know nothing," he said to the workers.

He and other relatives have now been taken behind the cordon where they are being briefed on how the recovery operation is progressing.

Fundraising push to help families

Birmingham Mail

Five men went to work and will never get to go home again.

Tragedy has struck in our city, when guests in our country died after a collapse at an industrial plant in Nechells, and for many it will never go away.

Now, the Birmingham Mail wants to help our city to help their families by fundraising for them.

At the scene: Fire crews 'drilling through concrete columns'

Chris Blakemore


Two bodies were pulled out last night and it could take most of the day to recover the other three.

The fire service has told us that to do that, it is having to drill through concrete columns to break them up so they can be moved. 

The collapsed wall was made up of several of these blocks, estimated to weigh 1.5 tonnes each.

Emergency vehicles are a constant presence.

Ambulance in Nechells