Four men have been seriously injured after a rally car crashed during a race in Co Meath.
It is understood that the rally car left the course on a lane near the Athboy to Kells road, careering into a field where a separate crash had occurred earlier in the event.
“We were standing in the field, quite far back from the bend,” said witness Michael Cahill.
He explained that one of the cars crashed into the field, “spun sideways and hit a group of people, including one of the drivers of a rally car that crashed earlier in the race. It was bedlam.”
One spectator, Meath man John Kerrigan, was airlifted to Tallaght Hospital.
His father Tom said his son has a broken pelvis, ankle, ribs and vertebrae.
John Kerrigan who was injured at a rally car race
John’s mother Maureen said the doctors told them “he’s not in danger, but he will be injured for a long time.”
The other victims were brought to hospitals after suffering bone fractures of differing degrees.
The chief executive of Motorsport Ireland, Alex Sinclair, this morning said that safety procedures at the race were up to standard.
“The spectators were in 35 metres from the road, so it is a little confusing at the moment as to how the car got that far into the field to make contact with these people.
“This club has been running events for 51 years and they have never had an serious incident before.
“We need to keep it in context – it happened, it was an accident, we certainly will carry out a full investigation,” he told RTE Radio.
He said the car will be checked for mechanical issues and the rainy weather conditions will also be considered in the probe.
“It’s been less than 24 hours since the incident so I wouldn’t arrive at a conclusion that the event was badly marshalled,” said Mr Sinclair.
“ I was there myself and I was satisfied. We wouldn’t have let it go ahead otherwise.
“The primary focus for us is the relatives (of the injured) and how we can help. The four are in a serious but not life threatening condition.”