(JollofNews) – The grief-stricken families of the men killed when a wall collapsed at a scrap metal yard face £5,000 bills to fly their bodies home to Gambia.
Bodies of all five men were finally removed from the scene after a painstaking two-day operation by emergency crews to retrieve them from underneath tons of metal and concrete rubble.
The group were killed at Hawkeswood Metal Recycling Centre in the Nechells area of Birmingham at about 8.40am on Thursday.
The men, Spanish nationals originally from Gambia, were working to clean out a metal storage bay when a 15ft si
dewall collapsed on them.
Blocks weighing about one-and-a-half tons each came down along with tons of scrap metal being held up by the wall.
All were pronounced dead at the scene, while a sixth man was taken to hospital after breaking his leg in the incident. His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
The victims have been named locally as being from the city’s tight-knit 10,000-strong Gambian community.
Saibo Sillah, 42, Ousman Jabbie, Mohammed Jangana, Alimano Jammeh and Bangaly Dukureh were all married and with children, according to the city’s Gambian Association.
Members of the community said they were hard workers on minimum wage who had been employed through a recruitment agency.
Sources close to the devastated families of the men say they have already been quoted between £4,000 and £5,000 to return a body to Africa.
A friend of one relative said: ‘These are very poor people and that is why they are over here in the first place. They are clearly desperate to return the bodies and they have been quoted £5,000 for repatriation.
‘My friend is the hardest working person I know, but those kinds of figures are just out of reach.’
People have already donated nearly £20,000 in just two days after a campaign was launched to support the families of those killed in the tragedy.
The money will be distributed equally among the loved ones.
The president of the city’s Gambian Association, Ansumana Barrow, said the community had been left ‘devastated’ by the tragedy.
A sixth man injured in the accident is currently in hospital after suffering a broken leg although it is not thought to be life-threatening.
A joint West Midlands Police and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation is under way but is expected to take many months.
Written Alex Matthews