BIRMINGHAM, England, July 7 (UPI) — Five men died on Thursday at the Hawkeswood Metal recycling center in Birmingham, England, when a wall collapsed.
The 12-to-15-foot wall, described as a “large concrete structure containing metal” by authorities, fell on a sixth man, who was able to escape with a broken leg. The recycling center processes over 500,000 tons of scrap metal each year.
The victims were recovering scrap metal from the ground before the collapse shortly before 9 a.m. local time.
“We are still in the very early stages of this investigation to determine exactly what happened this morning,” Detective Superintendent Mark Payne said during a press conference. “Sadly five people have lost their lives and we have several teams of specialist officers supporting their families at this time … This has been a very traumatic incident for those who were at the site this morning.”
Hawkeswood Metal was established over 40 years ago. An investigation is underway and England’s Health and Safety Executive has been notified.
Recovering the bodies proved difficult as the rubble is heavy and the wall remains unstable, authorities said.
“Shocked to hear about the tragedy in Birmingham,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement. “My thoughts are with the families of those involved.”