TANK TRAGEDY: Plea for caution after death on property

POLICE have warned people working in confined spaces to be cautious after a man died on a Northern Rivers property.

Richmond Police District Inspector Susie Johnston said the man was working inside a cement water tank at the Sextonville Rd, Dyraaba property yesterday afternoon.

Emergency services responded to the property, south-west of Kyogle, about 2pm.

"He was pumping water out of the tank and also doing some repair work," Insp Johnston said.

While a report is still being prepared for the coroner, initial investigations suggest he was overcome by carbon monoxide.

"Workcover were out there and they've said that it's not uncommon," she said.

She said the man, a local to the Kyogle area, had been engaged by the property's tenant to work on the tank.

In light of similar incidents across the state, Insp Johnston urged those working in similar conditions to be vigilant.

Three family members died inside a shed in Broken Hill last month and a married couple and their neighbour perished inside an empty water tank on the Northern Tablelands in February last year.

"Certainly anybody who's working in a confined space needs to be mindful, if there's generators or fumes ... being produced," Insp Johnston said.

"Police remind people about (the risk of) working with any type of electrical equipment or fumes in confined spaces."

Insp Johnston said the attempt to rescue the man was a "difficult" situation as crews worked to reach him without putting themselves in danger.

Police Rescue, the Volunteer Rescue Association, paramedics, Fire and Rescue and the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter were all tasked to the scene.

SafeWork NSW has been notified about the incident.



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