Mother's horror as son (3) crushed in office lift shaft
A three-year-old boy who suffered crush injuries in a lift shaft is believed to have died as a result of massive blood loss.
The boy's mother had to stand helplessly waiting for emergency services rushing to the scene of the freak accident.
The child was found in the lift shaft at the Hynes Building on Augustine Street in Galway city shortly after 3pm yesterday.
The child was named last night as Soloman Soremekun.
The Nigerian boy had only moved from Dublin to Galway in recent weeks along with his mother and three sisters.
His mother was struggling to come to terms with the tragedy last night.
Jubilee Echefu, President of the Assocation of Nigerians in Galway, said: "She is in bits. It was her only son. She knows nobody here."
The three-year-old had been with his mother and three sisters at the Social Welfare offices on the first floor of the building when he became separated from his family. He was on his own when he was seriously injured in the lift shaft.
Gardai, ambulances and two units of the Galway fire brigade rushed to the scene. They worked desperately to free the child. However, his injuries were too great and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Soloman's heartbroken mother was too distraught to return to her Doughiska home last night. She was comforted by friends at a nearby B&B.
Two investigations are now under way into how the child could have gained access to the lift shaft.
His frantic mother and siblings were comforted by members of staff at the offices while attempts were made to free him.
Soloman's remains were removed to Galway University Hospital at around 4pm. A post-mortem is expected to be carried out on the little boy later today.
The little boy's mother and three other children were escorted from the building shortly before 5pm.
The shocked mother appeared dazed, looking back repeatedly at the building as she was helped into the waiting taxi. A young girl, a toddler and a baby covered in a blanket were also assisted into the car.
Gardai investigating the incident described the death as a tragic accident adding that it was not being treated as suspicious. A spokesperson for the gardai said the incident was now under investigation.
The building was closed off yesterday evening, pending a technical examination by gardai which began at 5pm.
"There was a tragic incident which resulted in the death of a three-year-old male. It occurred at the Social Welfare offices at 3pm. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has been informed," said a garda spokesperson. The HSA will also carry out an investigation into the tragedy. Officers from the HSA visited the scene last night and will continue their investigations today. Jubilee Echefu said the community would rally around the family.
"We are a very close community here and we will do what we can to help them. We will pray for them," she added.
Ms Echefu said the loss of the young boy would be felt strongly by the entire community. "Our thoughts are with the family. This is the worst thing that could happen to anyone."
By Caroline Crawford