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Farmer suffocated to death after quad bike overturned in field

'There is a lesson to be learned in the use of quad bikes on farms'


Mr Nolan died while herding livestock with a quad bike. (Stock picture)

Mr Nolan died while herding livestock with a quad bike. (Stock picture)

Tullamore Hospital

Tullamore Hospital


Mr Nolan died while herding livestock with a quad bike. (Stock picture)

An 81-year-old farmer from Rhode suffocated to death when his quad overturned, an inquest in Tullamore concluded this week.

The inquest was told that the victim Jody (Joseph) Nolan, Coole, Rhode, was in very good health at the time of his accidental death in April.

Offaly County Coroner Brian Mahon and a jury heard Dan Reid, a nephew of the deceased, give evidence of finding Mr Nolan under a quad bike.

Mr Reid said he had land beside the deceased and on April 5 last he rang him at 7.30pm and got no answer.

Mr Reid said he rang his own mother at 7.45pm and she had not been speaking to him either.

He went to Mr Nolan's residence at about 8.30pm and saw that the back door was locked. The door of the quad bike shed was open and Mr Nolan's jeep was parked.

The witness said he got the keys for the jeep from where they were usually kept and drove down the field, noticing a quad upside-down when he got out to open a gate.

Jody was under the quad and he lifted it off him and laid the man out.

After checking his eyes he began CPR but got no reaction, though Mr Nolan was not cold.

He rang for help and put the man in the back of the jeep. CPR was carried out by others who arrived and one man went to get an AED.

An ambulance crew also began CPR but Mr Kennedy was later pronounced dead by a doctor.

Mr Reid said Mr Nolan owned the quad and it had only come back from being serviced.

Another nephew of the deceased, Alan Reid, said in evidence that Jody had helped himself and his son move cattle that afternoon.

Alan Reid and his son left at 5.30pm and went home and then received a call from Dan Reid saying that Jody was under a quad.

Dr Nurul Nor, consultant pathologist, gave evidence of carrying out a post mortem at Tullamore Hospital on April 7.

There were abrasions under Mr Nolan's right chin and at the base of his neck on the right side.

He concluded that the quad had landed on him and caused suffocation by compression of the airway and chest.  There was no fracture.

Mr Mahon told the inquest the Health & Safety Authority (HSA) had issued a very brief report which made the point that the quad was in good condition and an invoice indicated it had been serviced the previous week.

Mr Mahon said he had come across previous cases involving quads and though this was the first fatality, in his professional capacity (as a solicitor) he was aware they had caused injuries.

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He said he thought they were unstable machines, particularly in certain conditions such as on hills and mounds and were prone to falling over.

Mr Mahon said it was a tragic way for a person to end his life but Mr Nolan had lost his life doing what he loved and did best, working on his farm.

"There is a lesson to be learned in the use of quad bikes on farms," added the coroner.

"There are hazards in the use of these machines."

PJ Claffey, a manager with the HSA, said they encountered two or three fatalities every year with quads and they had guidance on their use and continued to promote their safe use.

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