Axa worker falls to death from office balcony in Bristol


An officer worker who had recently been signed off with stress fell more than 50ft to his death from an atrium balcony in front of horrified colleagues.

The man, named by staff as Bob West, plunged from the third floor of insurance giant Axa’s HQ in Stoke Gifford, Bristol.

Dozens of staff witnessed the fall and many more reported hearing a loud thud as the man hit the floor at around 1.30pm on Thursday (02/09).

The building has 900 Capita employees and 2,100 Axa workers.

In March, Capita announced that it would be cutting 300 staff at its offices in Stoke Gifford.

Colleagues said Mr West, who is aged in his 50s, had recently returned to work after being signed off with stress and depression.

Emergency services received 20 calls simultaneously as stunned onlookers called for help.

Paramedics rushed to the office block, which has around 3,000 staff, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

One insider at the company said: ”It was very traumatic. It was lunchtime and lots of people were milling around.

”He fell right in front of the escalators which were really busy. Some people saw him fall but lots of others heard the thud.”

Another worker, who wished to remain anonymous, said: ”Just before 1.30pm we heard a thudding sound and then a lot of screaming.

”People went out on to the balcony and said they could see a man lying on the floor.

”The managers ran past, looked out and then ordered everyone back into the office and not to leave their desks.

”Five minutes later two women came in, in hysterics and crying, and said that a man had fallen over the top of the balcony on the third level and had hit the floor on the bottom level.

”As we started to hear what had happened people were shocked, and people who saw it were crying, which is pretty understandable.”

It is thought the man was an employee of finance firm Capita, which manages life insurance policies for Axa.

A spokesman for Great Western Ambulance Service said: ”We received over 20 calls reporting a fall at the building, the first of which came through at 1.26pm.

”Reports indicated the man had possibly fallen from as high as 50ft.

”Paramedics tried to treat the man at the scene but unfortunately he had already gone into cardiac arrest.”

An Avon and Somerset police spokesman said: ”Police were called to a premises in Stoke Gifford at 1.30pm following reports that a man had fallen from a balcony.

”Paramedics attended and investigations are ongoing.”

Capita spokeswoman Caroline Mooney said: ”We are aware of a serious incident at our Bristol operations which resulted in the fatality of a member of Capita staff.

”We wish to express the deepest sympathy to his family and colleagues.”


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