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Police have arrested three men after a 73-year-old man died and two others were left needing hospital treatment when a bridge collapsed during a £900-a-head pheasant shoot.
Brian Harwood, of Penrith, Cumbria, died after a Polaris Ranger vehicle pulling a trailer fell into a river when the wooden bridge, supported by scaffolding, collapsed in Lancashire.
Police were called around 4.25pm on Tuesday following a report of a serious incident on a farm in Roeburndale. Eleven people were in the ranger vehicle and trailer at the time of the incident.
Mr Harwood suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, while two other men aged in their 60s and 70s are receiving treatment in hospital for their injuries.
Now, Lancashire Police have confirmed that three men – a 55-year-old from Preston, a man, 57, from Lancaster and a 52-year-old from Lancaster – have been arrested on suspicion of gross-negligence manslaughter.
Brian Harwood, of Penrith, Cumbria died after a Polaris Ranger vehicle pulling a trailer fell into a river when the wooden bridge, supported by scaffolding, collapsed
Police were called around 4.25pm on Tuesday following a report of a serious incident on a farm in Roeburndale. Pictured: The bridge in Lancashire
The three men have been released but remain under investigation, Det Insp Mark Dickinson, of Lancashire Police’s Force Major Investigation Team, said.
Det Insp Dickinson added: ‘This investigation remains in its early stages and we are conducting a number of enquiries to establish exactly what has happened, including whether any criminal offences were committed.
‘Three men have been arrested and are assisting police with our enquiries. They have now been released, but remain under investigation.
‘We are supporting the families of those involved and working with partners, including the Health and Safety Executive, to establish what caused the bridge to collapse.
‘Our thoughts remain with Mr Harwood’s loved ones and everyone affected by this tragic incident.’
It comes after Mr Harwood’s partner paid tribute to him in a statement on Wednesday, saying everyone ‘enjoyed his company.
Police confirmed three men have been arrested on suspicion of gross-negligence manslaughter. Pictured: Scene where the bridge collapsed
Eleven people were in the ranger vehicle and trailer at the time of the incident. Pictured: The collapsed bridge, which was supported by scaffolding, in Lancashire
The fatal incident took place near Roeburndale, Lancashire – just a few miles from the Yorkshire Dales border
The victim’s partner said: ‘Brian meant so much to me and the people around us. Everyone he knew enjoyed his company.
‘We are devastated about what has taken place and fully support the investigation. I ask that people respect our privacy and allow us to grieve in private.’
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Emergency services including police, ambulance crews, fire crews and mountain rescue attended the scene.
An investigation into the circumstances around the incident is continuing and the Health and Safety Executive has been informed.
Det Insp Kirsty Wyatt, of Lancashire Police, said: ‘Our investigation into yesterday’s bridge collapse is very much ongoing.
‘Our thoughts remain with Mr Harwood’s loved ones and everyone affected by this tragic incident.
‘We are supporting the families of those involved and working with partners to establish what caused the bridge to collapse.
‘Our enquiries are continuing with investigators expected to remain at the scene over the coming days.
‘I would like to place on record my thanks to the members of the emergency services who supported the operation, in what were very difficult conditions, as well as the community of Roeburndale, for their support, while our enquiries continue.’
It comes after it emerged earlier the the land where the tragedy occurred is run by a gamekeeper to one of the richest men in the country and formerly Prince Philip.
Locals say Ian Banks operates the £900-a-head pheasant shoot on the area where the collapse happened.
Mr Harwood was pronounced dead at the scene, while two men aged in their 60s and 70s were injured. Pictured: The scene where the bridge collapsed and caused the vehicle to fall
Emergency services, including fire crews, at the scene of where a bridge has collapsed in Roeburndale, Lancashire
Locals say Ian Banks operates a £900-a-head pheasant shoot on the land where tragedy was
Cave & Mountain rescue units are also in attendance at the scene after a vehicle fell into the river
Mr Banks – who is also a game farmer – runs Lancashire Game Farm and has years of experience working with Royalty.
His firm’s website says: ‘When an opportunity later arose for Ian to join the team as a beat keeper for the Duke of Westminster, he grabbed the chance with both hands and worked for 4 years producing quality, driven shooting for Royalty, including the Duke and Prince Philip.’
On Wednesday, he refused to comment when contacted by MailOnline by phone.
Mr Banks is understood to rent the land from a local farmer.
The victims are said to have been mainly ‘beaters’ who had been tasked with flushing out the birds so they can be shot.
Eleven of them had been on the back of a trailer returning back to the farm after the shoot had finished yesterday afternoon.
The trailer, pulled by a Polaris Ranger vehicle, fell into the river when the bridge suddenly gave way underneath it.
Police vehicle with sirens blazing on their way to the scene of the incident in the rural area of Roeburndale
A stock picture of a Polaris Ranger. The vehicle was carrying a trailer when it fell into the river on Tuesday
Fire and rescue crews at the scene of the incident on Tuesday night, where a man has died and several more have been seriously injured
A large presence of emergency services at the scene following the incident at around 4.25pm
A farm worker who knew some of those involved said: ‘They had been out pheasant shooting yesterday afternoon and were heading back to the farm.
‘There were 11 of them on the back of trailer, most of them had been working as beaters.
‘As they’ve crossed the bridge, it’s crumbled and collapsed underneath them and the trailer has fallen into their river some 10-15 feet.
‘A friend of mine is in hospital with head injuries. A few others who were on the trailer escaped with less serious injuries.
‘The shoot is £900-a-head and people come from all over the country.
‘It’s very sad, I don’t know why the bridge collapsed.’
Anyone with information about the incident can contact police on 101 quoting log 0953 of January 18.
Source: Daily Mail