A young man who was due to marry his girlfriend later this year has been killed after a rack of frozen chickens collapsed on him.
The tragic work accident happened at the Cappoquin Poultry chicken processing plant in Co Waterford yesterday morning.
Two separate investigations are under way after the man -- named locally as Tomasz Klodnicki (23) -- died in a cold storage room at the factory.
It is understood a rack of frozen poultry collapsed on the Polish national as he was loading pallets, causing him severe head injuries.
He was working in a cold storage room at the processing plant at the time of the incident, which is believed to have occurred at approximately 8am.
The dead man was found by a fellow worker and while efforts were made to revive him, he was pronounced dead at the scene. The fire service and gardai rushed to the processing plant when the alarm was raised.
Staff at Cappoquin Poultry -- the generations-old factory which was saved from collapse late last year after a succession of financial problems -- were said to be "shocked" following the death, believed to have been the first of its kind in the plant.
"It was a sad scene out there this morning," said a garda who was at the plant. "It's a terrible tragedy."
Mr Klodnicki's remains were brought to Waterford Regional Hospital for a post-mortem examination yesterday, while the scene of the death was sealed off by gardai.
The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) confirmed it was investigating the cause of the incident.
John O'Connor, one of the former owners of Cappoquin Chickens and whose family retains a shareholding in the new company, offered the condolences of management to the deceased's fiancée and family.
He said it was the first fatality to have occurred in the plant that he could remember.
"It's a tragedy," Mr O'Connor added.
"He was a young man who was very well liked by everyone here. He was just a nice guy who always seemed to have a smile on his face."
The dead man had worked in Cappoquin Poultry for some years, and lived in the area with his Polish girlfriend. They were due to marry later this year.
"He was familiar around the town," said local councillor Nora Flynn.
"There are a few Polish people working there and they're all grand. They get on with their business, go into the shop or into the pub and get on with their work." It's very sad."