Saturday 18 November 2017

Boy (10) killed in farm accident named

Michael McHugh and David Young

A 10-year-old boy killed in a farming accident in Northern Ireland has been named as Aaron Macaulay.

He is believed to have fallen off agricultural machinery and was airlifted to hospital earlier today but could not be saved.


One of his brothers may also have been injured during the incident in rural Co Down in the east of the region.


He is the third person to die on farms in the region in the last week.


Health and safety inspectors are leading an investigation and experts have issued a fresh warning to others to be careful.


Family friend George Macauley said: "He comes from a highly respected family, all very much involved in the work of our presbytery."


He travelled to Craigavon Area hospital where the boy was declared dead.


"His mother was at the hospital and the older brother. They were too distressed to ask any questions," Mr Macauley added.


The ambulance service was called to the Rathfriland Road area at Ballyward shortly before 2.30pm. The child's father and mother, Maurice and Wendy Macaulay, are well-known locally as farmers and members of Drumgooland Presbyterian Church.


Barclay Bell, a deputy president of the Ulster Farmers' Union and arable farmer from Rathfriland, said at this time of year farms were busy and children were home for the summer holidays.


"The farm is also a family home and that may be part of the difference,"he said.


He added: "It is another loss of life and a small child so certainly itis not good news for the wider farming family in Northern Ireland."


Speaking generally, he warned: "I still think the whole farming community, the families on farms, they really have to try hard and challenge the mindset a bit, that they just need to stop and reassess and think 'can I do this any safer, can I make my farm safer in general'?"


Last week, a father-of-three died after falling from a wall on his farm in Co Londonderry.


Henry Allen, 70, is believed to have lost his balance while working with silage.


Earlier last week six-year-old boy Harry Starrett died after collapsing in the milking parlour of his family farm on the outskirts of Armagh.


There were initial fears he had died in a farm-related accident but a post mortem subsequently identified an undiagnosed heart condition.


Last year 12 people died in farm accidents in Northern Ireland, including Ulster rugby star Nevin Spence, his father and brother, who were overcome by fumes in a slurry tank on their farm outside Hillsborough, Co Down.


Twelve people died in 2011. Before the recent deaths, there had been two fatalities up until June this year.


South Down Assembly member John McCallister said today's incident again highlighted the dangers that a farming environment could present.


DUP MLA Jim Wells said the death will shock the entire community who will gather round and support the grieving family.


"Once again this awful incident emphasises the dangers associated with the farming industry," he added.


"The Health and Safety Executive are investigation this latest tragedy and I would urge them to redouble their efforts to promote safety on the farm."


Ulster Unionist Assembly member Danny Kennedy and SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie expressed their sympathies. Mr Kennedy said: "I know the wider family circle and they are very well respected in the local community. I hope that they will find strength and comfort in the coming days to help them in the wake of the loss of their young son."

Press Association

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