Monday 25 March 2019

American tourist killed alongside her partner in freak accident on Kerry holiday suffered catastrophic head injuries, inquest hears

Normand Larose and his partner Rosalyn Joy Few died in a pony and trap accident in Kerry
Normand Larose and his partner Rosalyn Joy Few died in a pony and trap accident in Kerry
Normand Larose and Rosalyn Joy Few died last April after falling from a pony and trap in the Gap of Dunloe
Canadian Normand Larose (62) lost his life alongside his partner in a freak accident in Co Kerry
Rosalyn Joy Few, who was killed in a pony and trap accident in Kerry

Ralph Riegel

AN AMERICAN tourist died alongside her partner during a dream Irish holiday when she suffered catastrophic head injuries after a freak pony and trap accident in the Gap of Dunloe in Kerry.

Rosalyn Joy Few (64) died in the tragic accident at the famous Irish beauty spot just seconds before her daughter arrived at the scene of the tragedy in another pony and trap.

The revelation came as Ms Few's inquest was opened before Kerry Coroner Aisling Quilter to allow a death certificate to be issued.

Ms Quilter said that Ms Few, a resident of Phoenix in Arizona, died on April 9 2018 after a freak accident in the Gap of Dunloe.

Normand Larose and Rosalyn Joy Few died last April after falling from a pony and trap in the Gap of Dunloe
Normand Larose and Rosalyn Joy Few died last April after falling from a pony and trap in the Gap of Dunloe

The tragedy also claimed the life of Ms Few's partner, Normand Larose (62).

The coroner said that a post mortem examination conducted at University Hospital Kerry (UHK) determined that Ms Few suffered blunt force trauma to the head, inflicting a fatal traumatic brain injury, following a fall from a pony and trap.

The inquest was immediately adjourned though a death certificate can now be issued to Ms Few's US family.

The accident was the worst in modern times at one of Ireland's most popular tourist attractions.

Mr Larose and Ms Few were from Phoenix in Arizona and were in Ireland as part of a dream family holiday last April.

The two US tourists died from horrific injuries sustained when they were catapulted almost eight metres down into a ravine and onto rocks after a pony pulling their trap-style carriage suddenly became startled and the cart flipped over.

Normand Larose, who was killed in pony and trap accident in Kerry
Normand Larose, who was killed in pony and trap accident in Kerry

Ms Few's daughter, Tonya, was following her mother that day in another pony and trap with her husband and two children.

The family were horrified to come upon the accident scene - and realised that Ms Few and Mr Larose had been critically injured when thrown down into the ravine.

The accident happened in the Gap of Dunloe, not far from Kate Kearney's Cottage, as the tourists were undertaking one of Kerry's most popular visitor attractions.

A Garda investigation was immediately launched to determine the precise cause of the tragedy.

Last August, Mr Larose's inquest was opened and closed before Ms Quilter once medical evidence had been dealt with.

The inquest heard the 62 year old, who was originally from Quebec in Canada, died from blunt force trauma injuries to his skull and brain caused by a fall onto rocks from a pony and trap.

Rosalyn Joy Few, who was killed in a pony and trap accident in Kerry
Rosalyn Joy Few, who was killed in a pony and trap accident in Kerry

Tragically, the accident happened as the steepest part of the descent where the Gap of Dunloe road passed a bridge parapet by a deep ravine.

The Mayor of Killarney Councillor Niall Kelleher warned last year that any lessons required would be learned from the tragedy.

"If there’s lessons to be learned then it is incumbent on us to act upon it,” he said.

Last August, Kerry coroner's court also heard the inquest into the death of another US tourist in the Gap of Dunloe after a separate accident.

Janet Price (69) died from multiple injuries when she came off her hired bicycle near a notorious bend in the Gap of Dunloe on May 30 2017.

Her daughters warned the mother of two would never have attempted the steep descent had proper warning signs been in place.

The Price family insisted that signage should be in place warning that the descent is not for inexperienced cyclists.

Last year, Ms Few's daughter paid a moving tribute to her mother and Mr Larose after the fatal accident and acknowledged the incredible support and sympathy the family had received since then from the people of Kerry.

Tonya said the couple "radiated happiness everywhere they went."

"Joy and Norm...touched many people's lives. They loved their family and their friends deeply and unconditionally."

"They both loved life and lived their lives to the fullest."

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