A man has died after cleaning a very hot vat of ink at a western Sydney factory.
He was one of three workers who became trapped at the Auburn site shortly before 9am on Thursday.
The deceased man’s two other colleagues, aged in their twenties, were rescued from the Chisholm Road premises owned by DIC Australia, with one of them trapped for several hours.
However, the worker who died remains in the ink vat.
New South Ambulance superintendent Paul Turner said the deceased man, aged in his thirties, had been trapped by his legs, describing the area as ‘a very difficult scene’.
‘There was still ink on the floor of the vat, which hampered rescue efforts and treatment,’ he said. ‘It’s extremely hot inside the vat,’ he said.
‘Very limited personnel have been able to get inside.’
Special operations paramedics have been dispatched to the six-metre high vat ‘shaped like a large battery’.
Three men were initially all conscious and talking when they were trapped about 8.45am on Thursday.
However, Mr Turner said the deceased men ‘deteriorated rapidly towards the end’.
Ten ambulances are on hand, along with police and Fire and Rescue trucks.
The two rescued men were taken to Westmead Hospital, with one man suffering suspected leg injuries and the other leg fractures.
Ambulance parademics at the scene said the injuries were likely to have been caused by falling into the vat instead of the chemicals inside.
‘This is a terrible tragedy,’ Mr Turner said later in a statement.
‘We did absolutely everything we could.
‘It was a complex operation. We worked as quickly as we could to access these patients.’
The man is yet to be formally identified and his body remains in the tank, a NSW Police spokesman said.
Detectives have established a crime scene and are investigating.
SafeWork NSW has also sent inspectors to the site to investigate, a spokesman told Australian Associated Press.