Seven youths 'crammed into car' survive
SEVEN youngsters survived a serious crash yesterday after the car into which they were crammed smashed into a wall and a lamppost.
Fire brigade teams had to use cutting equipment to free the young men from the wreckage of their car following the smash at Church Road, Foxford, Co Mayo, at around 4.45am.
All of the occupants were aged between 18 and 21, gardai said. They were taken to hospital where the condition of all seven was described as stable yesterday.
The incident comes after seven young people travelling in a single car were killed in Co Donegal last month.
The young age of the car's occupants and the circumstances of the crash were also frighteningly similar to those of the horrific Kerry crash in which four young people lost their lives last week.
Two of those injured in yesterday's crash were transferred from Mayo General Hospital to hospital in Galway city, while the five others remained in Castlebar.
It is understood the occupants of a house beside the crash scene raised the alarm after they were awakened before dawn by the sound of the impact.
Superintendent Ronan Galligan, who is heading the garda investigation, said yesterday that speed was undoubtedly a factor and added that "an extraordinary amount of people had been crammed into a small car".
The Opel Astra car in which the youths were travelling was a write-off following the impact. The vehicle first hit a wall and then a pole.
All of the young men, who were returning home from a night out in Westport, were rushed by ambulance to Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar.
The N26 Ballina to Swinford road remained closed for most of yesterday as gardai carried out a technical examination.
The accident once again focuses attention on young drivers. Commenting on the latest accident yesterday, Mayo TD John O'Mahony said the news that the injuries were not more serious had come as a relief to the teenagers' families.
Mr O'Mahony added that the message about the dangers of drink driving seemed to be hitting home for teenagers.
But he said that, unfortunately, a new trend seemed to be developing where young people were overloading vehicles, creating fresh dangers.
"This is something that needs to be addressed," Mr O'Mahony added.