Tributes to death crash soldiers
Published 03/08/2014 | 13:20
Two English soldiers killed in a road crash in Northern Ireland were much liked men with fantastic futures ahead of them, military colleagues have said.
Lance Corporal David Gwilt from Bedford and Rifleman Dale Harris from Barnsley died when their car hit a tractor in Co Antrim on Friday night.
The 24-year-olds had been serving in the 2nd Battalion The Rifles based in Lisburn.
A statement issued on behalf of the commanding officer, officers and soldiers of the battalion paid tribute to their two colleagues.
"The tragic deaths of Lance Corporal David Gwilt and Rifleman Dale Harris have come as a tremendous shock to the 2nd Battalion The Rifles," it said.
"David and Dale were much liked, professional and hugely competent soldiers who had fantastic futures ahead of them. The whole battalion is deeply saddened by their loss and our heartfelt condolences go to their families and friends at this most difficult time."
The crash happened on the Ballyconnelly Road, Cullybackey.
Another man in the car, aged 21, sustained head injuries that are not thought to be life-threatening.
The driver of the John Deere tractor was treated at the scene for injuries that are not believed to be serious.
The Rifles are based at Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn. The battalion currently has one company of around 100 soldiers serving at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan and another company commencing a tour of duty in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Less than 24 hours after the crash another fatal road collision in Northern Ireland claimed two more lives.
A man and woman died in a two car crash in Newry on Saturday afternoon.
Those road traffic victims lost their lives when a blue Ford Fiesta and a brown Nissan Qashqai crashed around 5.25pm on the Dublin Road.
The 19-year-old man driving the Ford died at the scene while the 67-year-old woman passenger of the Nissan died later in hospital.
Police have appealed for witness to both crashes to come forward.
The man and woman who died in the Newry crashed were named as Niall Murphy and Joan Connor.
Mrs Connor was originally from the Drogheda, County Louth area and Mr Murphy was from the Newry area.
The two crashes followed another fatal collision on Wednesday in the Loughgall area of Co Armagh. Andrius Liberis, 25, died in hospital on Friday night from injuries sustained in the two vehicle incident at the Ardress Road.
The officer in command of the Police Service of Northern Ireland's Road Policing Team, Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin, said: "Five people have died on our roads since Friday.
"The devastation this brings to families, friends and local communities is immeasurable. Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by these tragic events both in Northern Ireland and further afield.
"This sharp spike has again brought into focus the real need for all road users to take responsibility for their actions."
He added: "The primary objective for everyone who uses our roads is to keep themselves, and others, safe. Every single road user has a choice to make when they take control of a vehicle. How they exercise those choices can unfortunately sometimes mean the difference between life or death."
So far this year, 48 people have died on the roads in Northern Ireland.