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Hackney Crossrail worker crushed to death by concrete

PUBLISHED: 15:11 23 February 2015 | UPDATED: 09:41 24 February 2015

René Tkacik, 44, died in 2014 after he was hit by a section of freshly applied shotcrete at Crossrail’s Fisher Street site

René Tkacik, 44, died in 2014 after he was hit by a section of freshly applied shotcrete at Crossrail's Fisher Street site

Archant

A "hugely experienced" construction worker was crushed to death when nearly a tonne of concrete collapsed on him in a tunnel, an inquest has heard this morning.

Rene Tkacik, 44, was working on a Crossrail site in central London on March 7 last year when the wet concrete poured down on him, after which he lay unconscious for 15 minutes before medical staff arrived, St Pancras Coroner’s Court heard.

Mr Tkacik, of Hackney Road, east London, had been working in the UK to earn money to send home to his family in Slovakia so he could pay for his daughter Esther to go to university, a statement from his wife Renata said.

The jury was shown a digital reconstruction of the 80ft (24m) deep tunnel in Fisher Street in Holborn where Mr Tkacic was killed - which was so deep it took an emergency team six minutes to reach him from ground level.

Investigating officer Cavin McGrath said: “The tunnel was being widened from the top.

“About a metre of concrete spraying would take place and the collapse was right underneath where it had just been sprayed.

“It was just under a tonne of concrete that came down, which is the equivalent of a bag of building sand.”

The statement read to the jury from Mr Tkacik’s wife said he was a highly experienced construction worker, who did not drink and put his family first.

It said: “His family was his first priority.

“He never went out with friends in the evening, he would just talk to me - he came here to raise funds to provide a university education for our daughter.

“He had worked as a concrete sprayer and was hugely experienced with that.”

But despite his experience, his English was still “rudimentary” and his colleagues were occasionally said to be rude to him.

His wife, mother and three sisters travelled from Slovakia to attend the inquest.

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