Belfast Telegraph

Boy fights for life after being hit by speedboat

A six-year-old boy is fighting for his life in hospital after being hit by a speedboat at a Co Down beauty spot last night.

The child was playing in water at the picturesque Cranfield Bay near Kilkeel when the accident happened at 5pm yesterday.

It is understood the boy, who is from the Rathfriland area, was being towed on a wake board behind a boat when he was struck by the speedboat.

A doctor and nurse, who were at the beach with their families, gave the child first aid while |ambulance crews raced to the scene.

Kilkeel RNLI inshore lifeboat attended the incident, along with the Coastguard rescue team.

The boy was taken to Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry before being transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Last night his condition was described as critical.

Alan Pritchard, watch manager at Belfast Coastguard, said it appeared the boy had been hit by another boat.

“Seemingly, the child was on his knees on a wake board being towed by a boat when another power boat came from the beach and across the towed board carrying the child,” he said.

“We are working closely with Newry police to establish all the facts.”

Isaac Hanna, an Ulster Unionist councillor in the area, said his thoughts were with the boy’s family.

“The boy was being towed when the speedboat ran across and moved him over,” he said.

“It’s a terrible tragedy. My heart goes out to this boy’s |family and I just hope and pray he makes a full recovery.”

Mr Hanna said a similar incident involving a young girl several years ago led to the council establishing a swimmers’ only area at the beach.

“We always encourage people to use the safe area which we |can police with lifeguards, who have equipment to rescue people where necessary,” he added.

“I’m very sorry to hear this has happened and I hope it’s not within that protected area.”

SDLP councillor Sean Rogers said people had been shocked by the incident.

“This boy was out enjoying one of the last days of the school holidays and for this tragedy to happen is devastating for the whole community,” he said.

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