Airline pilot 'critical' after island stabbing
AN airline pilot is in a critical condition with stab wounds while a basket weaver has also been hospitalised after an incident on the Aran Islands.
Des Collins, a pilot with Aer Arann Islands, a separate company to Aer Arann, was stabbed in the chest in an incident on Inis Mor yesterday afternoon which left him with a serious lung injury.
He remains in a critical but stable condition in Galway University Hospital after being airlifted off the island yesterday afternoon.
A second man, Vincent McCarron, a renowned basket weaver, was also injured in the incident on the island off the Galway coast.
Gardai are investigating the matter but no arrests have been made.
The incident happened at 1.15pm at Mainistir, close to Kill Ronain.
The two men were airlifted on separate flights from the island by the Coast Guard helicopter to Galway University Hospital.
Mr Collins is described as being in a critical condition, while Mr McCarron is being treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Both men are extremely well known on Inis Mor, which is the largest of the Aran Islands and is home to about 800 people.
Mr McCarron (67) is originally from Dublin but has lived on the island for decades.
He is a renowned basket weaver and travels extensively around the world to exhibit his craft.
He and his wife Barbara, a native of the island, raised their four children on Inis Mor but suffered a tragedy earlier this year when their youngest son, Uinseaon (24), was killed in a car accident in Australia.
The crash happened in New South Wales on May 12.
Yesterday marked his six-month anniversary of his death.
Speaking to the Irish Independent following the death of his son, Mr McCarron described him as not only his son but his best friend.
Meanwhile, Mr Collins, who was seriously injured in yesterday's incident, is a 47-year-old pilot who has flown for the past 12 years.
He was born and lives in Galway and is on first-name terms with many of the regular passengers on flights from Inverin on the mainland.
One local said this latest incident had caused widespread shock among the community.
"Both men are well known and well liked out here. It's a real tragedy," he said.
"The McCarron family are still grieving over Uinseon's death and they really didn't need this. Vincent and Des are both lovely guys."
Gardai in Kilronan are continuing to investigate the incident.
They are urging anyone who can assist in the investigation to contact gardai in Kilronan on 099 61102 .
By Caroline Crawford