Tuesday 24 October 2017

Dad crushed to death in front of son

Boy ran for help but ash tree too heavy to lift

Edel Kennedy and Jason O'Brien

THE wife of a man who was killed when a large tree rolled on top of him has revealed he had called her just moments before the accident.

Eamon Smith was cutting up trees yesterday when a large ash tree rolled down an incline and trapped him underneath.

His son, who was with him at the time, ran up the road calling for help, telling nearby workmen "my daddy is dead".

Three builders were working at a nearby cottage and they ran to try to free him but they were unable to move the heavy tree off his body.

"The boy came running up the road screaming 'my Daddy is dead'," said Tom O'Leary, one of the workers.

"So we ran to help. We could still hear the chainsaw running and it was lying beside him with the engine still running.

"We could see his jeans, we could see he was pinned under the tree but there was nothing we could do to help him."

Last night, his wife Cindy told the Irish Independent he had called her just minutes before the accident to ask her to collect their son from where he was working in the Glen of the Downs in Co Wicklow.

She drove from their home near Newtownmountkennedy with their young daughter and discovered the tragic scene where the builders were frantically trying to move the tree.

"He was a great husband," she said last night.

"We loved him very much and he loved us very much. He didn't get up this morning thinking that he was going to die today."

Greystones Fire Brigade, which had been taking part in the town's St Patrick's Day parade, rushed to the scene where Mr Smith was trapped, which is about 50 yards off the Downs Road at Drummin.


Rescuers cut a section of the ash tree and then had to use a winch to lift it. However, he was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after midday, with his body later taken to Loughlinstown Hospital.

The couple have been living in the Garden Village estate in Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow, for six years.

Last night, neighbours described Mr Smith as a "very hard worker" who did a lot to keep the area neat and tidy.

A number of people who were celebrating St Patrick's Day at the nearby Grove Bar spoke of their shock, saying Mr Smith was well-known and well-liked in the area.

"It was such a beautiful day here and this man went out to chop firewood -- it's such a terrible tragedy," Father Liam Belton said. "People know him as a person who did little else only work to provide for his family."

Irish Independent

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