KERRY General Hospital launched a major emergency operation on Friday after ten people were involved in a car crash outside Tralee shortly before 8pm.
Two cars collided with each other at Clogherbrien Cross on the Tralee to Fenit road, including a Nissan Qashqai occupied by six members of an American family on their way to a holiday home in the area.
The oldest member of the American party was the first rushed to hospital with injuries described as 'serious'. His condition was described as 'stable' by Tuesday afternoon. It is understood the family - including three children - had just arrived in the country at the time of the crash and were en route from Tralee to a holiday home in the coastal village.
Four local teenagers were in the other car, coming from the Kerries at the time of the collision, The Kerryman understands.
Kerry General Hospital took the dramatic step of launching a major emergency operation, described as an 'extremely rare' move, in response to the number of injured people.
The emergency operation is the hospital's 'code red' putting all available staff and resource on alert to respond to large scale situations.
Nine ambulances were tasked at 7.47pm, but four were stood down when it became apparent they were not needed. Five people in all were hospitalised as a result of the accident.
Paramedics made the decision to prioritise the most seriously injured, taking the elderly American man to hospital first as other ambulances made their way to the scene.
It took the first ambulance 23 minutes to arrive, according to the HSE. The Kerryman understands that a number of the crash victims were placed in stretchers at the side of the road as they waited for other ambulances to transport them to hospital.
The American family were on their way to a holiday home in Fenit and were only in the country a number of hours at the time of the crash. Their party included three children, the children's father and mother and grandfather. Their father is understood to have been stationed with the US Airforce at a base in Germany from where the family had travelled just hours beforehand. They maintained a fraught vigil at the elderly man's side as his condition improved over the weekend.
The road was closed off after the crash and a forensic examination was carried out by gardaí the following day. The collision is still under investigation.