Sunday 16 December 2018

Irish man (22) has 'miracle escape' after falling 20ft in workplace accident in Canada

Kevin Quirke (22) from Ardee, County Louth is recovering in Canada after suffering major injuries in a workplace accident
Kevin Quirke (22) from Ardee, County Louth is recovering in Canada after suffering major injuries in a workplace accident

Sasha Brady

An Irishman working in Canada has had a "miracle escape" after falling 20 feet in a workplace accident.

Kevin Quirke from Ardee, County Louth had been living and working in Canada on a temporary work visa for six months when the accident occured.

The 22-year-old had been testing machinery on a construction site in Toronto on Tuesday when the cable supporting his metal cage snapped and it fell more than 20 feet from the air.

His girlfriend Katie O'Heiligh, who had travelled to Canada with Kevin, said he is "lucky to be alive".

She said that he suffered major injuries but it could have been a lot worse if he hadn't been wearing a harness.

"Luckily he was wearing his harness at the time and the injuries he sustained were as a result of being thrown around inside the basket," Katie told

Kevin broke three bones in his jaw, two bones in his right ankle and suffered a laceration on his neck that was just 1cm away from the main artery.

Doctors told Kevin that it will take about a year for him to fully recover from the accident. It will also take some time before the Louth man can return home to Ireland.

"He won't be able to fly for at least six weeks and then he will have a walk cast on for another six weeks," said Katie.

Friends had initially set up a fundraising page to raise money to cover his parents' travel expenses as they rushed to Canada to be by his bedside. However, Katie explained that they're now trying to raise money to cover some of Kevin's medical expenses such as wheelchair rental and the cost of fitting out the house to make it more accessible for him.

"He needs someone with him 24/7 because he gets out of breath very fast with his jaw being wired shut," said Katie.

Kevin's family and friends have been overwhelmed by the support they've received so far through their GoFundMe account. In just three days they've raised $7,350 (€4,000) for his recovery campaign following his "miracle escape".

Katie said of the accident: "It's not a phone call anyone likes to get, especially being so far from home. It's not until something like this happens that you realise how easy it can happen to anyone."

You can visit Kevin's GoFundMe page here.

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