Monday 22 January 2018

Farmer killed by baler cheated death in crash just months ago

Pat Bradley pictured on his wedding day 26 years ago
Pat Bradley pictured on his wedding day 26 years ago

Edel Kennedy and Breda Heffernan

A FARMER who was killed while bringing in bales of hay had cheated death in a road accident just three months ago.

Pat Bradley (57), of Mountnugent, Co Cavan, was apparently crushed by machinery which he was using to lift the bales.

His widow, Anne, told how her husband of 26 years had recently been involved in a serious road accident when he was thrown from his tractor and knocked unconscious.

"A motorbike came around a corner on the white line and he drove off the road to avoid him," she told the Irish Independent.

"He was thrown out of the tractor and knocked out. The slurry tank rolled over several times and the tractor kept going because it was in gear.

"It kept driving around and around and only stopped when it crashed into a shed. It's a miracle he wasn't killed."

Mr Bradley was airlifted to hospital and released four days later after being treated for a punctured lung and broken ribs. The motorcyclist died in the accident.

Mrs Bradley said she went to line dancing every Friday night, and often her husband would not be at home when she returned as he would be at a neighbour's house.

She began to worry, however, when he had not returned by midnight on Friday, and she went searching for him in the early hours of Saturday.

"I knew something was wrong when I saw how few bales were lifted on to the trailer," she said.

She discovered his body at the bobcat – a loader used to lift bales – where he had suffered crush injuries.

Her screams alerted neighbours who rushed to the scene.

People living nearby spoke highly of Mr Bradley, who is originally from Killycunny, Virginia.

Describing him as a "great friend and neighbour who was always smiling", they said his death had thrown a dark cloud over the locality.

UPSETTING

It was particularly upsetting for other farmers, who are busy in the good weather making fodder for the winter.

Mr Bradley is survived by his wife, two brothers, two sisters and his mother, Philomena.

"He was a wonderful, kind man and very good-natured," said his wife.

The couple first met 36 years ago when he moved to Mountnugent to work as a farm manager at the local piggery.

"Anybody could call on Pat and he'd help them. Anyone who wanted help, he was there straightaway. Now he's just another farming statistic."

Gardai and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) are carrying out separate investigations.

Figures from the HSA show that 21 people lost their lives in farming accidents last year. So far this year, three farmers, including Mr Bradley, have been killed.

The agriculture sector accounts for the biggest number of workplace deaths each year.

The main causes of death and injury on farms are accidents involving tractors and machinery, which last year accounted for 47pc.

Irish Independent

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