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Monday 22 September 2014

Probe after Irishman is crushed on US building site

Greg Harkin

Published 16/04/2013 | 05:00

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Gary Feeney, from Templeboy, Co Sligo, and his wife Kelly Melvin-Feeney

AN investigation has been launched into the death of an Irishman on a construction site in New York State.

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Gary Feeney (24), from Templeboy in Co Sligo, was crushed to death when he was hit by a 800kg pipe on the site near Ballston Spa, about 300km west of Boston.

The pipe worker was working for the family Feeney Brothers Excavation Corporation, based near Boston, on an electricity station.

He was recently married in a civil ceremony and planned a church wedding with his new bride Kelly in Sligo later this year.

"The initial investigation at the scene indicates that the victim was assisting in unloading the 1,700-pound pipe from a flatbed tractor trailer and was holding a guide rope while the pipe was being lifted by an excavator with steel cables and hooks," said a New York State police statement.

"The pipe is believed to have shifted, causing slack in one of cables and dislodging one of the hooks. This caused the pipe to fall approximately eight feet from the top of the load, pinning the victim to the ground."

Relatives of the dead man were flying to the States last night to comfort his widow, a native of Co Mayo.

Gary worked for the company owned by his uncles, Brendan, Greg and Lorcan Feeney, which employs 700 people. He recently started his own sub-contracting operation.

His wife, Kelly, is from Bonniconlon, near Ballina. He is also survived by brothers Owen and Stephen, and sisters Andrea and Orla, and parents Norma and Fergus. His mother is a nurse at St John's Hospital, Sligo.

Tribute

Gary emigrated less than three years ago from his home in Templeboy. Family friend Michael Clarke, a Sligo Fianna Fail county councillor, said: "It's a terrible tragedy. Gary and Kelly had only recently married in a civil service in Boston and they planned to return home within a year for a church wedding in Ireland. The area around Templeboy and Dromore West is devastated."

Members of Sligo County Council paid tribute to the young man at their meeting yesterday.

Irish Independent

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