Friday 23 March 2018

Teen who trapped head in railing fights for life after frantic rescue

The scene of the accident in Kinsale, Cork, where Leon Connon, inset, got his head trapped in one of the railings
The scene of the accident in Kinsale, Cork, where Leon Connon, inset, got his head trapped in one of the railings

A TEENAGER is fighting for his life after a freak accident in which he fell ill and slumped on to a railing, trapping his head and cutting off his oxygen supply.

Leon Connon (14) is in a critical condition in Cork University Hospital after the bizarre accident which occurred in The Orchards estate at Compass Hill in Kinsale, Co Cork.

The accident happened as Leon was with friends on Saturday night near a 1.3-metre curved railing which marks the edge of the estate. Shocked neighbours first realised something was wrong when they heard the desperate screams of Leon's mother at 7pm.

"It was awful. All we could hear was the poor lad's mother screaming: 'Help me, help me, help me,'" the woman said.


Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, spoke of how locals had to use car headlights to illuminate the scene near a small green.

"I got help from another man and we lifted him off the railing. We laid him on the ground and I was shocked when I couldn't find a pulse. The young lad wasn't breathing," he said.

Paramedics arrived and then managed to get the teen breathing. He was immediately transferred to Cork University Hospital where he remains in a critical condition with his distraught mother by his bedside.

Emergency service sources confirmed the youngster did not suffer any serious head injury but his condition was caused by a respiratory problem.

Gardai cordoned off the scene to allow for a full technical examination.

Officers now hope to speak to all the youngsters who were with Leon when the incident occurred.

However, the matter is being treated as a tragic accident.

Leon – a keen Chelsea fan and student at Kinsale Community College – had gone out to be with friends after tea on Saturday.

The youngster, who suffered from mild asthma, is a fan of rugby, martial arts and computer games.

As Leon socialised with a group of around six teens near the fence, he suddenly complained of feeling ill.

He told his friends he felt nauseous and walked over to the fence, leaning over it while he apparently got sick.

It is believed he then either fainted or suffered a weakness which, as he collapsed, resulted in his head and neck sliding down into a groove between two railing curves.

His friends were unable to lift him off and ran to alert his mother who lives some 250 metres away.

Leon's father is understood to have been at work at the time.

The rescue operation was initially hampered by the darkness, though Kinsale Fire Brigade cut away a section of the railing to ease Leon's treatment at the scene.

The teen's family were too distraught to comment on the accident.

Neighbours have now called for the 1.3-metre railing to be completely removed and replaced by high-security fencing.

"We don't want this area being used as a short cut anymore. It is just too dark and isolated. All we can do now is pray for the young lad to get well," she added.

Kinsale Rugby Club said its "thoughts and prayers" were with the youngster and his family.


Ralph Riegel

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News