Farming

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Boy (14) dies as tractor overturns and rolls down hillside in farming accident

A teenage boy was killed following an accident on a farm.

The 14-year-old was travelling in a tractor that rolled off the edge of a hillside track on lands at Mooghna, Miltown Malbay, in north Co Clare, yesterday. No one else was injured in the incident.

The tragic accident happened shortly before 9am when emergency services received a report that a tractor had overturned close to Mooghna Lough, about 4km from Ennistymon.

Two units of Clare County Fire and Rescue Service from Ennistymon and National Ambulance Service resources were mobilised to the incident along with gardaí.

On arrival, emergency services found the tractor on its side. The teenager was pronounced dead at the scene.

It is understood the tractor was making its way down a winding track close to a local lake. The tractor left the track and overturned onto the next level below.

The vehicle then rolled off the edge of that section of the track onto the ground beneath.

The tractor is thought to have rolled almost 30 metres before landing on its side just metres from the lake.

Fire service personnel removed the boy's body shortly after 11am. A hearse arrived at the scene at around 11.50am and transported the body to University Hospital Limerick where a post-mortem examination is expected to take place.

Family members, neighbours and friends arrived at the scene during the morning with some following the hearse when it left the scene.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) was notified.

A spokesman for the HSA said: "The fatality of a young boy on a farm in Co Clare has been reported to us and we have launched an investigation."

A member of the Clare divisional crime scene investigation unit examined and photographed the scene.

A Garda spokesman confirmed that the HSA would be responsible for investigating the incident, while gardaí would prepare a file for the county coroner.

One local man said: "This is just a terrible thing to happen to any family.

"You can see how well liked they (family) are, by the number of people coming and going from here all morning."

"This is going to be very tough on them at this time."

Meanwhile, a local representative of the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) said the accident has upset the entire farming community.

"It's a very tragic situation," Willie Hanrahan, former IFA chair for Co Clare, told the Irish Independent. "The weather was fine. He was just helping out on the farm," he said. "It's tragic."

It comes just a fortnight after the Health and Safety Authority urged farmers to be extra vigilant during the lockdown.

There are fears that with children out of school, there could be a spike in child deaths on farms this summer.

HSA inspector Pat Griffin told RTÉ: "Children are at home for an extended period of time and may want to get out and down the yard.

"Farms are by far the most dangerous places of work in Ireland that we are concerned about this year, in that we may get a spike in child deaths in 2020."

Irish Independent