Belfast Telegraph

First of two friends killed by exploding tyre in Co Donegal is buried

By Greg Harkin

One of two lifelong friends killed in a freak farm accident in Co Donegal is being buried today.

Father-of-four Seamus Hegarty (52) will be laid to rest after Mass in St Patrick's Church in Murlog, Co Donegal.

His best friend Kevin Woods (51) will be buried later this week to allow a sister to travel home from Australia for his funeral.

The men died on Friday evening on a farm at Crossroads, Killygordon - about 10 miles from Strabane - when a tyre they were inflating on a tractor exploded.

The men were working together to prepare a field when the accident happened.

It's thought a metal ring on the tractor wheel became detached when the men were blowing it up.

Parish priest Fr Edward Kilpatrick said the pair had been lifelong friends and were almost inseparable and helped each other out on their respective farms.

"Both men grew up together.

"They went to school together, worked together and had the same manner in that they were both hard-working, modest and quiet men," Fr Kilpatrick said.

"They were decent, upright men who went about their work on a daily basis.

"They were very committed to their community and to each other.

"When Seamus needed a hand with his cattle, he called Kevin and when Kevin needed a hand with his potatoes he called Seamus.

"The fact that they lived most of their lives together and then died together is what the community here is finding it most difficult to come to terms with," he said.

Investigators from the Health and Safety Authority have confirmed the exploding tractor tyre killed the men. They spent the weekend examining the scene in the town land of Monellan, close to the local Red Hughs GAA club.

Both farmers were killed instantly following the incident which happened just after 6pm after a day preparing a potato field.

The CEO of the Republic's Health and Safety Authority, Martin O'Halloran, said: "We have noticed that there has been an increase in these type of accidents involving large agricultural tractor and industrial machinery tyres exploding when being inflated.

"They can explode causing serious injury or fatality," he said.

The authority recommends industrial tyres are inflated inside protective cages.

Similar accidents have killed or seriously injured truck drivers and mechanics.

It's also recommended that anyone inflating a heavy-duty industrial tyre does so while keeping their head and body away from the rim of the wheel in case of metal failure.

Mr Hegarty will be buried at Murlog cemetery after requiem mass at St Patrick's Church.

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