Pigs crash can't stop rally
Published 17/11/2007 | 10:56
The climax of the World Rally Championship in Ireland narrowly escaped disaster yesterday when a lorry-load of pigs overturned close to the route.
Stewards were caught on the hoof at the event - watched by up to 45 million people worldwide - when Garda attention was diverted to the crash.
Some 160 pigs spilled from the three-tier truck as it overturned on a main road into Sligo, which is hosting the rally's final stages.
Gardai, with Department of Agriculture officials, scrambled to round up the animals at Collooney Roundabout just 10km (six miles) from the main hub of the event.
A Garda spokeswoman said: "All the pigs have been corralled. There were two fatalities among them, but the rest are ok."
The driver of the lorry, which appeared to have toppled negotiating a roundabout, was taken to hospital where his injuries were not thought to be serious.
Two cranes were brought in to lift the truck upright before it was towed away and traffic chaos cleared during one of the western town's busiest weekends.
"Between the rally and everything else this is the last thing we need," added the Garda spokeswoman.
Sean Perry, Rally Ireland spokesman, said the organisers were prepared for everything.
"We have plenty of resources on to keep the race in its place," he said.
"We can certainly deal with livestock. If they are on four legs they're probably easier to handle than on four wheels."
The championship stage takes place in eight counties on both side of the border and finishes tomorrow with a special stage at Mullaghmore. It kicked off with a special stage at Stormont on Thursday night.