Power line workman fatal accident inquiry under way

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A fatal accident inquiry has opened into the death of a digger driver who was killed while working on the Beauly to Denny power line project.

David McClorey suffered fatal injuries while working near Kinbuck in Stirlingshire on 11 April 2012.

The first day of the inquiry heard that the 31-year-old, from Stranraer, became "somehow trapped" between his digger and a giant roller.

An air ambulance was called in, but Mr McClorey died at the scene.

Supervisor and roller driver Paul Cooper told how the pair had been preparing to transfer fuel from the roller to the digger when the incident happened.

He said this was "not a normal thing", but that it happened when machinery was running low on fuel with no extra on site.

He added that "no-one's ever told us not to do it".

'Rocked backwards'

Mr Cooper, 44, was backing the roller towards the digger, which was positioned close to what he described as a "little lip" in the track, about 10 to 19 centimetres (4 to 7.5 inches) high.

He said: "I wasn't using my mirrors, I was turned round in my seat, looking over my shoulder, with constant eyesight on David.

"He gave me a 'high five' sign to stop, and I turned away from him to put the machine in the stop position, and as I turned round there was a slight movement in the machine.

"It kind of rocked backwards as if it had come off the edge of the stones. When I turned back there was no visual of David."

'Caught somehow'

After moving the roller forward again, Mr Cooper found Mr McClorey lying face down.

He continued: "I rolled him over and there was swelling round his neck and his cheek and I realised he had been caught somehow between the two machines - that was the first thing that came to my head."

Mr Cooper performed CPR for "10 to 20 minutes" until paramedics arrived, but Mr McClorey was pronounced dead at the scene.

The men were working for RJT Excavations on the Balfour Beatty project, creating access tracks for the erection of pylons on the Beauly to Denny power line.

The inquiry at Stirling Sheriff Court, before Sheriff William Gilchrist, is expected to run for four days.

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