A POSTMAN on his morning run had a lucky escape when his delivery van was struck by a train at a level-crossing.
John Canning, a married man with children, was recovering last night at Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar from what were described as "non life-threatening injuries".
The accident happened around 9.30am yesterday as he delivered mail in Mayo.
The post van driven by Mr Canning – who is in his 40s – was dragged along the line for a short distance after being struck by the Ballina to Manulla Junction passenger feeder train.
The Volkswagen Caddy vehicle, which was described as a "write-off" following the incident at Curraun level-crossing, then tumbled from the tracks and into a field.
The train, which had six passengers in its two carriages, came to a standstill just north of the railway bridge on the N5 Dublin to Westport road.
Neither the train driver nor any of the passengers were injured.
Local people rushed to give Mr Canning assistance at the scene before they were joined by medical personnel from the emergency services.
According to Iarnrod Eireann, the van was on the line when it was struck at the user-operated level crossing, which is two miles from Ballyvary.
"A user-operated level crossing is not automatic. The gates have to be opened and closed manually by road users and are common on less busy roads," a spokesman for Irish Rail told the Irish Independent.
It is understood that there are only a handful of houses on the other side of the level-crossing that Mr Canning was trying to access to deliver mail.
Local man Michael McHale, whose house overlooks the accident scene, said the postal van was "thrown to one side by the passing train".
The train passengers involved were transferred by road to Manulla Junction to connect with the Westport to Dublin train.