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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 May, 2005, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
Fatal fall inside works chimney
Castle Cement factory at Padeswood near Mold
Mr Vleigen fell 30 ft inside a tower at the site
An inquest jury has heard how a Belgian construction worker fell to his death while working on a 300ft high chimney at a cement factory in Flintshire.

A verdict of accidental death was returned on steel fitter Mark Vleigen.

The Flint inquest heard he plunged 30ft from one platform onto another inside the new kiln being built at the Castle Cement at Padeswood, near Mold.

Mr Vleigen, 45, had been wearing safety equipment, but it was not known if his harness was attached when he fell.

The contractor, who was fitting steel flooring in the tower, had been working on the project for about eight months.

Colleagues heard his cries for help and one witness described how he saw him dangling from the platform, the inquest heard on Tuesday.

Mr Vleigen was taken to Wrexham Maelor Hospital but doctors there were unable to save him.

'Raining heavily'

The inquest heard that the Health and Safety Executive was still investigating and had not yet decided whether any action would be taken over the accident last July.

The inquest jury of two women and six men were shown a video of the kiln to get a sense of its size.

In a statement, Udo Vonberg, a steel construction engineer who was working with Mr Vleigen, said they had been working alone on the platform fitting steel plates.

Mr Vonberg said he did not think it was too dangerous to work.

"It was raining heavily - I was clipped on by my safety harness," Mr Vonberg's statement read.

"I didn't see when Mark fell, but I heard him give a loud cry,

"I could do nothing to help him because of the bad weather conditions. The surface of the platform was very slippery."

Home Office pathologist Dr Brian Rogers said Mr Vleigen had fallen approximately 30ft, striking support structures within the tower.

The cause of death was severe head and chest injuries, he said.

North East Wales coroner John Hughes told the inquest jury that it was not a case where they had to decide if anyone was at fault.

He also sent his condolences to the dead man's partner in Belgium.

Cement kiln remains closed
28 Apr 05 |  North East Wales

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