Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Horror as family plunges into canal

A two-year-old boy was fighting for his life in hospital today after plunging into the Newry Canal in a terrifying car crash.

The accident happened at the Fathom Line, close to the border with Omeath, at about 3.45pm yesterday.

The Ford Fiesta in which he was a passenger ended up in the water after swerving to avoid another vehicle.

The toddler was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital after his condition deteriorated yesterday afternoon.

A hospital spokesperson today described his condition as "critical but stable".

The toddler had been travelling in a car with three other family members when the vehicle veered off the road and into the water.

The vehicle - which landed in the water on its roof - is understood to have been completely submerged.

Eyewitnesses said only a tyre was visible.

The adults - the child's mother, father and uncle - were able to free themselves and it is understood the men dived back into the water in a bid to rescue the child.

All four were out of the water by the time fire crews arrived.

Edward Carroll, station commander at Newry, said that Fire and Rescue officers took over from a passer-by administering first aid, including oxygen to the child.

All four casualties were rushed to Daisyhill Hospital for treatment.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, local SDLP councillor John McArdle, chairman of Newry and Mourne District Police Partnership, identified the area as an accident blackspot.

"There have been a series of accidents with cars going into the canal, including a number of fatalities, over the last 20 to 30 years," he said.

"Pressure needs to be put on Newry and Mourne Council, combined with Louth Council, to erect a safety fence in the area.

"Accidents like this are happening far too often."

He added: "I hope to God the child survives - for his sake and for the family's sake."

Police were appealing for people with information about the accident.

In particular, detectives are asking the driver of the other vehicle to come forward.

The Fathom Line road was temporarily closed between the Omeath border crossing and the Dublin Road junction until after 6pm.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0800 600 8000.

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