SSI explosion: Tributes to 'much-loved' grandads tragically killed in South Bank

SSI explosion: Tributes to 'much-loved' grandads tragically killed in South Bank

The families of John Mackay, 49, and Tommy Williams, 65, have now released photos and paid tribute to the men after the SSI tragedy

Police have named the two men who tragically died in an explosion at the former SSI site.

John Mackay, 49, and Tommy Williams, 65, died in an incident at the South Bank site on September 19.

Their devastated families have now released photos and paid tribute to the men.

John, from Edinburgh, was a husband, father, step father and grandfather.

His family said: “John was much-loved by his wife, parents, sisters, children, step children and grandchildren and will be greatly missed by his family, friends and colleagues.

"We are immensely grateful for the support we have received in the past week and take comfort in hearing how popular a man John was.”

 

Tommy, from Warwickshire, was father to Emma and a grandfather to Jordan, Kade and Jazmin.

His wife, Bobbie Williams, said: “Tommy was a dearly loved husband, father and grandfather who will be desperately missed.

 

"I would like to send all my gratitude and thanks to every member of the team that has been involved.

"I cannot thank you all enough.”

Superintendent Tariq Ali, of Cleveland Police , said: “Both Tommy and John’s family and friends are dealing with the devastation of losing them and I would ask that people respect their privacy at this extremely difficult time.

"They are being supported by specialist family liaison officers.”

 
Emergency services at the former SSI site in South Bank

The men's bodies were recovered from the site on Wednesday evening after it was initially considered too dangerous for emergency services to retrieve them.

The contractors from demolition firm John F Hunt and Nationwide Platforms  were working at the former ammonia washers  in a "tier three" decommissioning task - the most dangerous category.

The men were three weeks into a six-week contract to strip furniture from the towers to prepare them for demolition when the disaster happened.

It is understood there were around half a dozen workers on the ex-coke ovens site at the time of the explosion, with those who witnessed it offered counselling and support.

Flowers have been left at the scene in memory of the two men.

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