Chorley worker's lightning death

Chorley worker Justin Feber.

Chorley worker Justin Feber.

First published in Chorley

A Chorley worker has died after being struck by a ‘freak’ bolt of lightning while drinking a cup of tea on a building site, police said.

Bricklayer Justin Feber, 41 who worked for Matthews and Leigh Civil Engineering Ltd, based on Chapel Lane, Coppull, was taking a break on the Bovis Homes Development site where he was working, when his colleagues witnessed a flash of lightning and a loud bang, despite no warning of a storm.

The father-of one, who was not touching anything metallic and was standing with both feet on the ground, instantly collapsed at the site in Wychwood Village, Weston, near Crewe shortly before 1.30pm on Wednesday.

Health and safety experts said in the UK five people on average were killed by lightning each year, making the odds of of such a fatal strike one in 10million.

Colleagues of Mr Feber, who lived in Haslingden and was sub-contracting at the site, rushed to his aid to tried to administer first aid.

But despite their best efforts and further medical attention from paramedics, he died a short time later at Leighton Hospital, in Crewe.

A second man was also taken to hospital suffering from the effects of shock.

Andy Leigh, managing director of Matthews and Leigh Civil Engineering Ltd said: “All staff at Matthews and Leigh have been profoundly upset and shocked by this tragic event and we send our sincere condolences to Justin’s family and friends.

“Justin was well liked, highly professional and held in high regard by all those who worked with him. Our thoughts are with all who knew him at this very sad time.”

The Health and Safety Executive, the body responsible for employee safety in the work place, said they had been made aware of the incident and that they would not be launching an investigation.

A HSE spokesman said: “This incident is not something the Health and Safety Executive would normally investigate because it was the result of a freak natural occurrence.”

A spokesman from Bovis Homes said: “Everyone at Bovis Homes is deeply saddened by this tragic incident and we extend our sincere sympathies to this man's family and friends.

“Our thoughts are with them and with his colleagues who were with him on site and responded immediately to the incident. They have obviously been deeply affected by this and we will look to support them in any way we can.”

A spokesman from Cheshire Police said: “At 1.28pm on Wednesday, April 11 emergency services were called to Abbey Park Way, Wychwood Village, Crewe following the report of a man being struck by lightning.

“A 41-year-old man from Haslingden in Rossendale who had been working on a building site was treated by paramedics at the scene.

“Sadly, he died a short time later at Leighton Hospital.

“A second man suffering from shock was also taken to Leighton.

“Police attended the scene and confirmed there were no suspicious circumstances.

“A file will now be prepared for the coroner.”

An inquest was been opened into the death on Monday.

A spokesman for the Cheshire coroner said: “The coroner opened and adjourned the inquest into Mr Feber’s death and it will be reopened at a later date when all witnesses and family members can attend.”

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