Tuesday 10 December 2019

Northern Ireland fan dies after promenade fall in Nice

A Northern Ireland fan in Nice for Euro 2016 has died after falling from a promenade.

The victim, aged in his 20s, toppled eight metres (26ft) over a barrier and onto a hard pebble beach at around 2am this morning, police said. It is understood the man was on his own at the time.

Thousands of supporters had descended on the city to watch Sunday's fixture against Poland.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) spokesman said: "We are aware that a man from Northern Ireland aged in his 20s has died in Nice, France, this morning."

Nice's Promenade des Anglais is famed as a landmark of the city and runs for some four miles. Below it lies a rocky beach.

It is a popular walking and cycling route and was thronged with supporters returning from the match on Sunday night.

Many of the fans had congregated around the area of the Place Massena in the old part of the city.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials are contacting the man's family.

Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley tweeted: " You think things are bad then learn one of your own loses his life last night. Thoughts with family and friends."

Midfielder Steven Davis tweeted: "So sad to wake up to the tragic news that a Northern Ireland fan has died in Nice, thoughts with his family and friends."

Patrick Nelson, chief executive at the Irish Football Association, said: "On behalf of the board, management, players and staff of the Irish Football Association, I would like to express my deep sadness at the tragic death of a Northern Ireland supporter in Nice in the early hours of this morning.

"The thoughts of everyone at the Association are with his family and friends at this time."

There were condolences too from the Republic of Ireland as they prepared to launch their campaign against Sweden at the Stade de France.

FAI president Tony FItzgerald said: "Our hearts go out to all of our friends in the Irish Football Association and to all Northern Ireland supporters following this terrible tragedy.

"I would like to express our sincerest condolences on behalf of myself and the board of the FAI."

Chief executive John Delaney offered his sympathy and also remembered Republic fan James Nolan, who died in Poland following his team at Euro 2012.

"This should be a wonderful day for football and for all football supporters at the UEFA EURO 2016 tournament - instead it is a day of deep sadness for everyone associated with football.

"I want to extend my deepest sympathies, and those of everyone at the FAI, to the family and friends of Mr Rodgers, and to offer our support at this time to the IFA and its President Jim Shaw and CEO Patrick Nelson.

"A young man who went to enjoy a football tournament will not be coming home, and we are saddened by such a sad loss.

"The FAI would also like to take this time to remember the family and friends of James Nolan who tragically passed away four years in Poland at EURO 2012."

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