Boy (4) crushed to death while helping out uncle
Published 09/11/2011 | 05:00
A FOUR-YEAR-OLD boy was crushed to death when a steel door fell on him near the family home, an inquest heard yesterday.
Daniel Cleary had been helping out at his father's haulage business when the tragedy occurred.
The little boy was using hand signals to direct his uncle as he moved oil drums into a shipping container with a loader when the door separated from the container and fell.
His two-year-old brother, David, was with his uncle, Raymond Cleary, in the cab of the telescopic loader at the time.
Daniel's mother, Patricia, told Donegal Coroner's Court yesterday that the two boys loved being in the cabs of working machines around their home at Drumbar, near Donegal town.
Mrs Cleary said Daniel had started the day, June 2 of this year, at a playgroup in Donegal town and the youngster, who was due to start school in September, was playing outside the home with his brother when their uncle arrived.
Mrs Cleary said her brother-in-law was moving the two oil drums into a container with steel doors so they would not be stolen.
One drum was put in by the loader and then Daniel told her there was a light on in the container so she went to get keys to switch it off.
"Daniel was directing him by way of hand signals," she told the coroner, Diarmuid Hegarty.
A small van blocked her view of what happened next. She said: "I saw the steel door fall forward. I was only 20 feet away."
"I lifted Daniel in my arms and shouted for help," she said. "There was blood around his nose. He was not conscious and I knew his injury was serious."
Earlier, Raymond Cleary said he heard a loud impact from outside his cab as he was moving the second drum of oil.
"I looked to my right and I could see one of the doors had fallen. I could see the door lying flat," he said. "I lifted it off Daniel.
"There were tears in Patricia's eyes. There was blood in Daniel's nose and mouth."
The inquest heard that Daniel, was pronounced dead at the scene by a doctor.
Pathologist Dr Saman Abdulla, who examined his body at Letterkenny General Hospital, said the main cause of death was a serious fracture to the skull.
The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.