'I thought he was gone' - father faces long recovery after sign crushes him at food festival
A father of one who was crushed by a falling sign at a festival will face a long road to recovery because he suffered catastrophic injuries, his family has said.
Frank Craig (33), from Prosperous, Co Kildare, was attending the Wings Food Fest on the seafront in Bray, Co Wicklow, with his wife, daughter and some extended family on Sunday afternoon when disaster struck.
A large sign advertising the event fell on them after a gust of wind blew it over, trapping Mr Craig underneath.
His young nephew was also slightly injured in the incident.
Paramedics worked on Mr Craig for more than an hour, trying to stabilise him before transferring him to St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin.
"He has a broken breast bone, two broken collar bones, a broken bone in his neck, 29 staples in the back of his head, and his right wrist, hand and fingers are crushed to pieces," his father Thomas told the Irish Independent. "I saw him briefly at the hospital [on Sunday].
"Apparently they had only arrived at the festival and taken a photograph of the sign and were walking away when it blew over.
"Frank was pinned to the ground by it, and I'm told it took a lot of people to lift it off him," he added.
"He doesn't remember what happened. He just remembers waking up in absolute agony in the hospital. I heard about it at around 4pm and when I got to Vincent's it was after 5pm and he still wasn't there.
"The crews had been working on him at the scene," said Thomas.
"We're all very worried about him. I was fearful to be honest. I thought he was gone.
"The doctors are still doing loads of tests to see what the injuries are.
"The bone in his neck is a worry. He's in a lot of pain. He's crying with the pain. It's just terrible."
Mr Craig lives in Kilcock , Co Kildare, with his wife Laura.
He is a father of one and works as a forklift driver in Leixlip.
"He's a strong lad and that might help him, but everyone is still worried.
"He still has a collar on his neck until the doctors assess him fully," said his father.
Mr Craig and his family were due to go on holiday to Spain on Thursday where his mother and brother were already waiting for them.
"That won't happen now. We're still in shock. We don't know what will happen," he added.
The incident, which occurred on the third day of the food festival event, has been described as a freak accident.
Eye witnesses said a sudden gust of wind blew the sign on to the child and the man.
"It was a big enough sign and we're lucky that more people were not injured," one said.
In a statement Wicklow County Council said: "An accident due to a freak wind occurred at the Wings Food Fest in Bray on Sunday afternoon.
"This resulted in an entrance sign being blown down.
"Unfortunately, two people were injured as a result.
"There was a rapid response from local emergency services and the injured were treated at the scene before being taken to hospital.
"While Wicklow County Council did not organise the event, we would like to wish those injured a speedy recovery."