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Wedding party girl (3) 'lucky to be alive' after 20ft balcony fall

A three-year-old girl is lucky to be alive after falling almost 20ft from a balcony at a family wedding celebration.

Little Eva Sweeney, a cousin of the bride, Ashley Gallagher, fell on to a sloping tiled roof and tumbled down on concrete paving while playing with other young guests.

Medics had to revive her.

Shocked wedding guests dashed to the side of the first-floor balcony when they heard Eva scream as she fell.

It happened as guests had gone out to a balcony to listen to a band at the Ostan Hotel, Gweedore, Co Donegal.

When a member of staff raced to the scene he found Eva crying and being held by a female member of the band.

He carried her upstairs while emergency services were called.

Eva spent five days in hospital recovering from bruising to her head and body, two black eyes and an injured shoulder.



AMAZING

Her parents, Sarah and Joe, both 35, live in Kings Park in Glasgow, but were in Donegal for the wedding.

"It was so frightening. Eva's an amazing wee girl. She's lucky to be alive'" Mr Sweeney said.

The wedding was on last Saturday week and Eva was taken first to Letterkenny General Hospital and, the following day, to Temple Street Children's Hospital in Dublin.

Her uncle, Simon Murphy (35), flew from Glasgow to visit her. "The paramedics had to revive Eva at one point, so we feel really lucky that she's still alive. I saw her sitting up in the hospital with two black eyes but she was still smiling," he said.

Mr Murphy explained that it appeared Eva was playing chase on the balcony with other children just before the fall.

"Eva was playing with some other children when she put her hand out to lean on the balcony fence. She was lucky there was a sloping roof below -- it broke her fall," he said. One of the hotel owners, Charles Boyle, who is also the chef, said it was the first time in 41 years that there had been an accident at the hotel.



INVESTIGATION

"No hotel staff witnessed the incident but we understand the child crawled through the barrier and fell on to a smaller sloping roof and then fell a further 8ft to the ground," he said.

A spokesperson for the Health and Safety Authority said: "We are aware of the incident and we are conducting an investigation."

cfeehan@herald.ie


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