20 June 2015 11:15 PM AEST: An Indian man who tragically lost his life in 2013 might have been caught inside the freezer of his employer for up to an hour causing fatal hypothermia.
An inquest into the tragic death of Vijay Singh found that the ‘intelligent and able young man’ had been trying to unload a pallet from a forklift when somehow boxes fell on top of him, and his forklift was stuck.
A news.com.au report said today that “New South Wales deputy state coroner Carmel Forbes found that Mr Singh died as a result of complications from hypothermia that developed while he was trapped inside the Laurent commercial freezer in Matraville in April 2013.”
The 23 year old Indian man was working at the factory of packing company Laurent ‘to send money back to his parents in India who were unable to get the age pension’.
Around 1 pm to 1:130 pm, three of Mr Singh’s friends had helped him with his forklift which had become stuck on ice and then they went on their break. They returned at around 2 pm and resumed work before realising at around 2:30 pm that they had not seen Mr Singh for sometime.
They looked around and found him trapped between his forklift and shelving. One of his colleagues tried in vain to free the forklift. When police arrived shortly after, even they could not free the forklift which eventually was moved by the Police Rescue.
Coroner Forbes said Mr Singh did show signs of consciousness when emergency services arrived but was blue. The temperature inside the freezer was around minus 20 degrees.
Mr Singh, who had been in Australia for four years, later died in the hospital despite doctors trying their best to save his life.
His body temperature had apparently dropped to 31 degrees when he was brought to the hospital. The doctors could not warm him, the report said.
An autopsy later found out that the man lost his life due to ‘complications of hypothermia’.
His employer Laurent was prosecuted and fined $150,000 for breaching health and safety practices. It pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety regulations. The company no longer operates in NSW.