The death of a 24-year-old forestry worker, who was killed after being hit by a falling tree, was accidental, an inquest has concluded.
Ben Thomas, from Aberbargoed, was pronounced dead at the scene by a paramedic on August 15, 2017.
He died in Sirhowy Forest, near Cwmfelinfach.
A four-day inquest into Mr Thomas’ death was held at Newport Coroner’s Court this week, and concluded on Thursday, July 29.
He had started working for Pontypool-based company Tree Finesse in May 2017, having become fully qualified to do the job in January of that year.
The company had been subcontracted to carry out the work by Natural Resources Wales.
Mr Thomas originally had the day off, but went in after being offered work, the inquest heard.
The inquest was told Mr Thomas was out of sight of his colleagues Mark Whitehead and Elliot Wilmer when the tree he was cutting down fell on him.
Mr Whitehead told the inquest he heard Mr Thomas shouted “I’m finished”, before himself and Mr Wilmer put on their ear defenders to continue their work.
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Around five minutes later, they took their ear defenders off and heard Mr Thomas’ chainsaw idling. They then went towards where Mr Thomas had been felling the tree and found him trapped underneath it.
They used their chainsaws to cut him free, but Mr Wilmer told the inquest he “could tell he was not alive”.
Mr Wilmer said he and Mr Whitehead tried to revive Mr Thomas.
According to the provisional findings of a post-mortem examination in 2017, the cause of Mr Thomas’ death was crush asphyxia and lacerated lungs. He had also suffered fractured ribs and blunt trauma injuries.
Tests found no alcohol or drugs in his system.
The coroner, Caroline Saunders, said there wasn’t enough evidence to suggest Mr Thomas shouldn’t have been cutting down trees on the day of his death – with the jury returning a conclusion of accidental death.
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