Dad tells of miracle escape by train girl

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

THE train driver who stopped after passing over an unconscious nine-year-old girl initially thought a dog had wandered on the line.

Mary Ryan-Hayes stunned her family when she cheated death at 7.10pm on Monday on railway tracks behind her home in Tipperary town.

The little girl, who has autism, had been in her garden playing on a swing when she scaled a 7ft fence and went walking on the railway line.

She was playing on the tracks when the train was approaching, and her shocked father Matt Hayes told the Herald the driver's first thought was that there was a dog on the line.

However, the quick-thinking train driver blew his horn loudly and engaged his brakes -- attracting the attention of Mary's mother, Breda Ryan, who rushed to the scene.


He was also praised by Iarnrod Eireann last night for slowing down the train immediately.

Mary had fallen and banged her head and was knocked unconscious on the railway sleepers.

She remains in a stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit of South Tipperary General Hospital this morning.

Mr Hayes said doctors are confident Mary will make a full recovery.

When Breda Ryan, first discovered her daughter on the railway tracks she feared Mary was dead.

"Breda was the first person to reach Mary.

"She thought she was dead... but then she realised she was breathing," said Matt.