THE investigation is ongoing to determine what happened to cause the explosion in Avonmouth yesterday that led to four deaths - who have been named.

The site at Wessex Water’s Bristol water recycling plant is likely to remain cordoned off for the next few days while the investigation is ongoing by police and the Health and Safety Executive, with support from a team of chemical and mechanical experts.

It is believed that the four people who died in the explosion on Thursday, December 3 are Michael James, 64, Brian Vickery, 63, Raymond White, 57, and 16-year-old Luke Wheaton however Avon & Somerset Constabulary have said that formal identification is yet to take place and post-mortem examinations are underway. Their officers are supporting the families of these individuals.

A fifth person was injured and is now at home. Officers will speak to them when it is appropriate.

The explosion happened yesterday morning that involved one of the chemical tanks at the site, with emergency services called in at 11.20am.


Supt Simon Brickwood said: “I’d like to extend my heartfelt sympathies to the families of those involved in yesterday’s tragic incident.

“An investigation has been launched into the causes of the explosion, with the support of partner agencies and the Health and Safety Executive. This is likely to be ongoing for some time and we will be keeping the victims’ families informed throughout.

“We appreciate the impact this incident has had on the local community and we thank those affected for their patience while our investigative work is carried out. The local neighbourhood policing team is available to address any concerns members of the public may have.

“I’d like to pay tribute to those involved in the emergency response, who have been at the scene throughout the night under very difficult and challenging circumstances.”

Giles Hyder, HSE’s head of operations in the South West said: “We send our deepest condolences to the families of those who tragically died. It is important a joint investigation is carried out.

“We will provide specialist support to what is likely to be a complex investigation under the command of the police.”

Wessex Water Chief Executive Colin Skellett said: “We are all absolutely devastated by what has happened.

“Our hearts go out to the family, friends and colleagues of those who lost their lives during the tragic event on Thursday.

“I know from the thoughts and comments I have received from so many, that this has affected the whole Wessex Water family.

“I know Avonmouth, I worked there for many years, and I know the people, some of whom have lost their lives during this terrible incident.”