‘Heartbreaking’ grief after boy, 16, killed in explosion at water treatment site

Tributes have been pouring in for the 16-year-old boy killed in an explosion at a water plant earlier this week.

Luke Wheaton had been working as an apprentice at the water plant in Avonmouth, Bristol, when the tragedy occurred.

Three other men also lost their lives in the incident.

Police confirmed that Michael James, 64; Brian Vickery, 63; Raymond White, 57; and Luke Wheaton, 16, were all killed in the blast.

A fifth person is said to be recovering at home.

A huge investigation has been launched after the major incident on Thursday.

And in the coming months inquests will be take place to ascertain what went so catastrophically wrong.

A spokesperson for Bradley Stoke Community School, where Luke previously attended, tweeted: “We were shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic passing of our former student Luke Wheaton yesterday in the Avonmouth tragedy.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.”

Meanwhile, North Bristol RFC club also shared their condolences.

They said: “Such terribly sad news that one of our Colts, Luke Wheaton was tragically lost in the accident in Avonmouth yesterday morning. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.

“All of our love & thoughts to Luke’s family, team mates, coaches and everyone else that new him.”

And Avonmouth Old Boys RFC wrote: “Our thoughts this evening are again with the families of the men who today were named after yesterday’s accident… Brian Vickery, Raymond White, Michael James and tragically apprentice Luke Wheaton.”

Dozens of people also took to Facebook to voice their heartbreak at the news.

One person wrote: “No fatalities are acceptable but 16 years old? My God what a tragedy.

“Thoughts with the families affected and also with the emergency services for the outstanding work they do.”

Another person said: “Absolutely tragic, four families devastated condolences to Al family and friends of the deceased.”

On Friday, Supt Simon Brickwood said: “I’d like to extend my heartfelt sympathies to the families of those involved in yesterday’s tragic incident.

“An investigation has been launched into the causes of the explosion, with the support of partner agencies and the Health and Safety Executive. This is likely to be ongoing for some time and we will be keeping the victims’ families informed throughout.

“We appreciate the impact this incident has had on the local community and we thank those affected for their patience while our investigative work is carried out. The local neighbourhood policing team is available to address any concerns members of the public may have.

“I’d like to pay tribute to those involved in the emergency response, who have been at the scene throughout the night under very difficult and challenging circumstances.”