Tragedy strikes on Pewsham Locks as volunteer dies

Pewsham Locks on the Wilts & Berks Canal | Ed Webster, Flickr CC 2.0

Pewsham Locks on the Wilts & Berks Canal | Ed Webster, Flickr CC 2.0 - Credit: Archant

A 63-year-old man was excavating a lock wall as part of restoration work when it collapsed on top of him

Peter Konitzer was working at Pewsham Locks, on the Wilts & Berks Canal near Chippenham, Wiltshire, when the accident occurred.

The Health and Safety Executive, who have launched a full investigation, have said that Konitzer was excavating one of the lock walls when it fell on him. The emergency services were called immediately and he was airlifted to the Great Western Hospital in Swindon, but died of his injuries.

Mr Konitzer, who was retired, volunteered with the Wilts & Berks Trust, who has spent years repairing parts of the abandoned canal in the “largest and most complex waterway restoration project now taking place in the UK.”

In a statement, the Wilks & Berks Trust said: “The trust would like to send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of our volunteer.

“The trust is cooperating fully with the investigations carried out by the HSE and the police to establish the background to this tragedy and any lessons we need to learn from it.”

Support is being offered to the other volunteers who were at Pewsham Locks at the time of the accident.

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Amy Lapsevska, Konitzer’s 32-year-old daughter, has paid tribute to her father. “He did really love the outside and he really believed in the canal trust. He was going down there on a regular basis,” she said.