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Queensferry Crossing worker's death 'a freak accident'

John Cousin died from a chest injury after being struck by a crane boom extension.

John Cousin: Inquiry being held into foreman's death.
John Cousin: Inquiry being held into foreman's death.

A construction worker fatally injured on the Queensferry Crossing may have died as a result of a "freak accident", a probe has heard.

John Cousin, 62, from Northumberland, died from a chest injury after being struck by a crane boom extension weighing 550kg on the north tower deck of the bridge on April 28, 2016.

At the time Mr Cousin was employed by Galliford Try Employment Ltd and had been seconded to work for Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) as a leading hand foreman.

On Tuesday, a fatal accident inquiry at Stirling Sheriff Court heard from detective sergeant Robert Williamson from Police Scotland's major investigations team.

He read from a report based on statements taken from witnesses to the accident, including site engineer with responsibility for health and safety, Fraser McIntyre.

'I don't even know why John would even be there. I think it would be in his nature to give a hand.'
Witness Fraser McIntyre

Mr McIntyre described Mr Cousin as a "pleasant guy" who would "help you if you needed help with anything".

He recalled hearing screams and shouts on the morning of the accident.

When he arrived at the scene he saw Mr Cousin "motionless, there was lots of blood on the ground".

"I knew it was serious," he said.

The statement said a fellow worker at the scene was "white as a ghost".

"He said he thought he'd been hit on the head," Mr McIntyre said.

"He was sitting on the ground and he said that a white flash hit him."

The accident happened as Mr Cousin was repairing the crane, which was out of action due to a burst hydraulic hose.

The court heard the crane's boom - the fly jib - was secured by two large metal pins, one at the cab end and another in the middle.

Mr McIntyre said: "I could see one of the pins for the fly jib hanging free and the other was lying on the ground.

"It seemed like a bit of a freak accident to me because both pins should not have been removed. I think if only one pin had been removed the jib would still be secure.

"I don't even know why John would even be there. I think it would be in his nature to give a hand."

The inquiry heard the accident happened at around 11.30am and Mr Cousin was quickly evacuated from the bridge by boat.

He was declared dead around an hour later.

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