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Rostrevor crash teen fights for life after accident kills his friends James Miskelly and Eoin Farrell

Community in mourning for pals ‘who had everything to live for’ 

By Rebecca Black

Published 16/09/2015

The car on its roof
The car on its roof
A recovery lorry at the scene
James Miskelly
Eoin Farrell

A teenager was fighting for his life last night after a horror smash in which two of his friends died.

In a shocking crash late on Monday night on the outskirts of Rostrevor, the car the three teenagers were travelling in is understood to have left the road, careered through an elderly woman’s front garden before eventually coming to rest in a field.

The force of the impact set the pensioner’s oil tank on fire, a blaze which spread to her home and left a room blackened.

The badly-shaken woman was taken to hospital following the incident.

Two teenage boys, named locally as James Miskelly and Eoin Farrell, died in the crash. The third was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

It is understood he went through surgery yesterday and remains seriously ill.

The trio all attended St Mark’s High School in Warrenpoint together and had gone on to start apprenticeships in different trades since leaving.

Several relatives of the boys and of the elderly woman visited the harrowing crash scene yesterday but were too upset to speak to the media.

The Fire and Rescue Service said emergency services were called to the scene on the Kilbroney Road on Monday just before midnight to deal with a “dual incident”.

Two fire appliances from Warrenpoint Fire Station and another two from Newry were dispatched, and firefighters used breathing apparatus, thermal imaging cameras and two water jets at the scene.

Station commander David McComiskey said the incident was first reported as a house fire — but on arrival his crews found themselves working along with the PSNI and Ambulance Service as they dealt with a serious road accident and blaze.

PSNI Inspector Stephen Humphries said: “I am appealing for witnesses to come forward. I would also like to hear from anyone who was travelling on the Kilbroney Road prior to the time of the collision and who may have seen a silver Volkswagen Bora on the road.”

The deputy chairwoman of Newry and Down District Council, Gillian Fitzpatrick, knew several of the families affected.

The SDLP woman said the community had been left stunned over the tragic deaths of two more young people, after a number of recent road fatalities in the area.

Just 10 days ago Danica Nugent (23) died following a crash in Crossmaglen.

Three weeks ago, Queen’s University students Peter Hughes (19) from Dromintee, Co Armagh, Gavin Sloan (20) from Attical, Co Down and Conall Havern (20) from Crieve Road in Newry, Co Down died following a car crash on the A1 dual carriageway between Dromore and Banbridge.

Young Conall lived just a couple of miles from the weekend’s crash scene tragedy.

“This is now six people who have died on roads across our area in the last three weeks,” Mrs Fitzpatrick said.

“People are shocked and devastated, all we can think is just no more please. All we can do is just sit and pray.”

She said she was “absolutely heartbroken” when she heard about the accident on the Kilbroney Road.

“Two young men who had everything to live for are now dead and a third is in a critical condition,” she said.

“The pain across the community is very raw.”

Independent councillor Jarlath Tinnelly echoed her thoughts. “Our district has been hit very hard this year with quite a few fatalities,” he said.

“In any small community, when word of this starts to filter out it affects everybody.

“To think another two families have been plunged into an absolute nightmare in the last few hours is just horrific.”

St Bronaghs GAC in Rostrevor also offered its heartfelt condolences to the families.

“St Bronagh’s GAC extend our deepest sympathy to the families affected by the tragic road traffic accident in our village last night,” a spokesman said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this incredibly difficult time.”

Some 50 people have died on our roads this year so far with April and June being the worst months to date.

It is less than the total of 57 who had died in road incidents by this time last year, but more than the figure for 2013, which was 40.

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