27th November 2013.  Three people are in a critical condition and six others are injured after being overcome by fumes at a Victorian dairy farm.

Two police officers and a paramedic are among a group of nine people injured in the industrial accident, on a rural property in Cloverlea, near Warragul in the state’s east.

A father and his two sons were working inside a water tank, a confined space, when the incident happened. It is believed the three men became seriously ill when the father used an ammonia cleaning agent to clean a tank that had previously contained stockfeed.  Seven others who went to help, including two police officers and at least one paramedic, were affected by the fumes.

The wife and mother of the critically injured men told reporters that family and friends cut a hole in the side of the tank to rescue her husband and sons and she found them “flaked out” at the bottom of the tank.

Working in a confined space is deemed high risk and it is not yet clear whether the men were overcome by chemical fumes, as a result of a lack of oxygen, a build-up of carbon dioxide or a combination of the above.

Worksafe Victoria says it will investigate the incident and has sent crews to the site.

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