A TEENAGER is fighting for his life after falling and getting his head trapped between railings in a freak accident.
Leon Connon (14) remains in a critical condition after the incident stopped him breathing for several minutes.
Tragedy struck as he played with his friends on Saturday night near a 1.3m curved railing at the edge of a housing estate in Kinsale.
It is understood Leon fell ill, fainted and slumped on to the railing, trapping his head.
Neighbours in The Orchards estate at Compass Hill ran to the scene to help his mother, who was alerted just after 7pm.
One of them said: "I got help from another man and we lifted him off the railing. I was shocked when I couldn't find a pulse. He wasn't breathing."
Another neighbour told how they discovered something was wrong when they heard Leon's mother crying for help.
"It was awful," they said. "All we could hear was the poor lad's mother screaming 'Help me, help me, help me'."
Paramedics arrived at the scene and managed to get the teenager breathing again.
He was transferred to Cork University Hospital where he remains with his distraught mother at his bedside.
Sources have confirmed that Leon suffered no serious head injury, but they added that his condition had been caused by a respiratory problem.
Gardai have cordoned off the scene of the accident to allow for a technical examination.
Officers hope to speak to the youngsters who were with Leon when the incident occurred, but it is understood the matter is being treated as an accident.
The incident unfolded as the teenager socialised with a group of around six friends in an area near the fence.
It is understood he suddenly complained of feeling nauseous, then walked over to the fence, leaning over it while he apparently became sick.
He then either fainted or suffered a weakness and, as he collapsed, the force of the fall caused his head and neck to slide down into a groove between two railing curves.
His friends were unable to lift him off so ran to alert his mother, who lives 250m away. Leon's father was 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 fencing to ease Leon's treatment at the scene.
His family were too distraught to comment.
Leon, a student at Kinsale Community College, suffered from mild asthma.
Neighbours have now called for the 1.3m railing to be removed and replaced by high security fencing.
One of them told the Herald: "We don't want this area being used as a short-cut any more. It is just too dark and isolated. All we can do now is pray for the young lad to get well."