Tributes to man who died after slipping into boiling liquid mud

Rod Keates.
Rod Keates.

Tributes have been paid to a retired Harborough district businessman and former magistrate who died on holiday in Bolivia, after slipping into boiling liquid mud on a trip to take photographs of a lava field.

Rod Keates (71), was on a three-week holiday in South America when the tragedy happened at the weekend.

He had gone out early on Saturday, November 12 to take photographs at the spectacular Sol de Manana lava field at Potosi, in south-western Bolivia.

He sank into a scorching mud pool, which may have been hidden beneath a crust of apparently solid ground.

Mr Keates was rescued by locals and other people in his holiday party, but died on the way to hospital from severe burns.

Mr Keates, who lived in Billesdon, 11 miles north of Market Harborough, leaves behind his wife, Pat, three daughters and five grandchildren.

His shocked wife Pat Keates, speaking from home, told the Mail: “He was a wonderful man, and that’s all I can say.”

Mr Keates started his career in banking, before setting up an injection moulding company in Hinckley, and then selling up to become a business consultant. He also worked as a magistrate in Leicester until he was 70.

A keen sportsman and cyclist, he played competitive squash, badminton and tennis, and also enjoyed golf and bridge.

He was also enthusiastically involved in village life in Billesdon.

Friends in the village described him as “a very generous and kind person”, “a super chap” and “popular with everyone who knew him”.

A spokesman at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed: “We are providing support to the family of a British national following a death in Bolivia.”