'Entire community in deep shock over freak accident that killed best friends'
Two very close friends lived only 400 metres apart
Two men killed when a tractor tyre exploded had probably inflated wheels hundreds of times without incident, friends have said.
Health and Safety Authority experts, who recommend tyres are blown up inside a cage, spent yesterday examining the scene where two Co Donegal men died last night.
Seamus Hegarty, who was 52, and Kevin Woods, also 52, had been working in potato fields near Crossroads, Killygordon, in east Donegal when the accident happened at 6pm.
The men had gone to school together and had been lifelong friends since the age of four.
They had rented fields close to Red Hughs’ GAA club and had been gathering potatoes since Thursday.
“They would have blown up tyres hundreds of times in the past without a problem,” said a close friend at the scene yesterday.
“This time something went wrong, horribly wrong.”
Mr Hegarty was a married father-of-four, with children aged between seven and 18 years.
Raphoe parish priest Father Denis McGettigan said the entire community was deeply shocked at the double tragedy.
“It is very tragic really as here we have two very close friends who lived only 400 metres apart,” he said.
“I have visited both houses and both families are in a deep sense of shock as are the entire community.
‘This was a very unusual and exceptionally sad turn of events for this region and both men had been friends since their childhood.
“It was a freak accident that has really stunned our community."
“Seamus Hegarty leaves a wife and four young children behind while Kevin Woods lost his mother only last year.
“There is a very deep sense of devastation and loss and the best we can do is to comfort both families in our prayers.
“They certainly deserve all our support in this terrible time of deep loss”.
Ambulance crews raced to the scene of the accident but both men had died instantly - such was the force from the tyre blast.
Garda forensic experts spent the night examining the scene before the remains of the two men were taken to Letterkenny General Hospital for a post mortem examination yesterday morning.
County Councillor Frank McBrearty said the deaths had left the community stunned.
“It’s a time when people are looking forward to Christmas and having their families around them and for two of our families here it is too devastating for words,” he said.
The Hegartys were particularly well known. Seamus’s brother Paul is a former Derry City and Finn Harps player and coach.
He has been inundated with messages of support from players and coaches from throughout Ireland.
The Health and Safety Authority said more than half of workplace accidents in Ireland so far this year had taken place on farms.