Probe launched as Downpatrick man dies in tragic farm accident
An investigation has been launched following the sudden death of an elderly man on a farm near Downpatrick described as a tragic accident.
Few details are known at this stage, but it's reported the PSNI were called to the scene of the man's death around 5.30pm yesterday.
The incident is being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). It's understood the death may have involved a tractor.
SDLP MP for the area Margaret Ritchie told the Belfast Telegraph the man was known as "a fine upstanding member of the community of the highest integrity who lived for farming".
She said she was not yet in a position to name the victim but said: "This is a tragic accident that has devastated a family and the entire farming community in south Down.
"I know the man's family and offer my condolences to his sisters, brother and wider family as they try to come to terms with his death. He was a pillar of the community and he will be sadly missed. This part of the world is made up of people who come together at times of crisis and I know the people he touched will rally around his loved ones to offer comfort and support," she added.
"It is a desperately sad occasion coming at a time which adds immeasurably to the emotional pain, and my thoughts are with his family and friends."
Ms Ritchie added: "He's been involved in farming all his life; highly respected in the local community by his peers, neighbours, friends and relatives."
It's understood that the man was unmarried and in his late 70s. A spokesman for the HSE said: "Our thoughts are with the man's family at this most difficult time."
Between 2000 and May 2015, 100 confirmed farming deaths have been recorded in Northern Ireland. Among the causes of death were equipment at 39, animals at 24, falls caused 19 fatalities, slurry 11 and other causes seven.