Inquest adjourned into death of grandad in port '˜explosion'

An inquest into the death of a Billingham man at the Port of Sunderand has been adjourned.

Friday, 30th November 2018, 5:46 pm
Updated Friday, 30th November 2018, 5:50 pm
The Port of Sunderland

Police were called to reports of an explosion at the port on Friday, July 27.

They later confirmed that 61-year-old grandfather Brendan Eccles had died.

An inquest into the death of Mr Eccles, of Low Grange, Billingham, was opened on August 6, and adjourned for a pre-inquest review.

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A hearing at Sunderland Coroner’s Court was told that an investigation into the circumstances was still on-going and the inquest was adjourned to February 14 next year.

A spokesman for Northumbria Police said at the time: “The police were made aware that a man had died in a suspected industrial accident on Prospect Row, at Sunderland Docks.

“Enquiries into the circumstances of the incident are ongoing, but the health and safety executive have been informed.”

A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive, said at the time it was working alongside police, ‘who are in the lead of this investigation’.

Shocked residents living near the port described hearing a ‘loud bang’ from the docks.

Geoff Moon, 55, landlord of the nearby Welcome Tavern for 27 years, told how a number of emergency services vehicles were quickly on the scene.

He said: “We just heard a loud bang.

“The local authority was digging up the road outside and those lads thought it was thunder because we’ve had thunder and lightning in the area, but to me it was much sharper, like an explosion.

“It wasn’t like thunder and lightning, it was more like a crack. It was almost like a bomb was going off.”

The Port was closed off to traffic while emergency services were on the scene, resulting in several trucks parked up outside waiting to get on site.

Mr Eccles’ family paid tribute to a much-loved husband, dad and grandad.A family statement read: “We are absolutely devastated by what has happened. “Brendan was a loving husband, father and grandfather and we are still coming to terms with this tragic loss.

“Brendan was kind, thoughtful and well-liked by everyone who knew him and words cannot describe what has happened. “We would ask for people to respect our privacy at this difficult time.”