Sunday 25 August 2019

'We're hoping he will pull through' - Irishman (67) fights for life in Malta after receiving serious injuries in road accident

David Cooley (67) from Youghal, Co Cork had flown into Malta with his wife
David Cooley (67) from Youghal, Co Cork had flown into Malta with his wife

Ralph Riegel

AN Irishman is fighting for his life in a Maltese hospital after suffering horrific injuries in a road traffic accident just 24 hours after he arrived on holiday.

David Cooley (67) from Youghal, Co Cork had flown into Malta with his wife, Margaret, for a dream holiday on his favourite island when he was struck by a car as he walked on a pavement outside a restaurant in Sliema.

The accident happened at 1am on Saturday, just 24 hours after the couple had arrived for a two week break.

David, who only retired two years after 40 years service with Cork County Council, is now fighting for his life in a Maltese hospital.

He has been in an induced coma since Saturday after suffering skull, chest, hip, leg and arm injuries.

It is understood he sustained a fractured skull when he was knocked down by a Smart car which apparently mounted the pavement after the driver lost control while turning a corner.

The driver of the car, a 30 year old local man, was taken to a police station.

Maltese news website, TVM, said that man later failed a breathalyser test.

A spokesperson for the Cooley family appealed for privacy.

"This is a truly horrible time for the family," they said.

"We would appeal for privacy and for the family to be given the time and space they need."

"We are all hoping and praying now that David will pull through."

"It is a terrible tragedy because David absolutely adored Malta and loved spending time on the island."

The Maltese news website said Inspector Jonathan Ransley is now investigating the accident.

No charges have been levelled as yet.

Mr Cooley developed a special relationship with Malta after he was one of the main organisers in an effort to restore a famous bronze naval crest to Malta.

The crest had been in Ireland for over 60 years without anyone realising its significance.

It was finally passed to a man from Youghal, Co Cork, whose father had, by coincidence, served in the British Navy at the actual ‘stone frigate’ base in Malta.

The Naval Service patrol vessel, LÉ James Joyce, returned the crest two years ago when it undertook a humanitarian migrant rescue mission in the Mediterranean operating from Malta.

The crest represents the Maltese heritage site, Fort St Angelo.

It was one of only two such forts categorised as ‘stone frigates’ by the British.

Two original crests were created for the fort, with the other now in private ownership.

Fort St Angelo, about 1,000 years old, served as a British garrison from 1800 to 1979, during which time it was first classified as HMS Egmont (1912) and later HMS St Angelo (1933).

Mr Cooley was instrumental in returning the crest and loved visiting Malta as a result.

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