Dad's anguished call for prayers as little Simon Doherty battles for life after Ballymena car accident
A heartbroken father who posted an emotional video on Facebook of his nine-year-old boy fighting for his life in hospital after he was in an accident with a car is begging people: "Please pray for my son."
Simon Doherty remains in intensive care in a critical condition after he was involved in a collision with a black Toyota Avensis car on the Glenravel Road in Cargan, outside Ballymena.
His parents have been maintaining a bedside vigil at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. Simon's father Robert took to Facebook yesterday to issue a desperate appeal for people to pray for the boy's recovery.
"I love you son, if you come out I'll be waiting here for you son", the father-of-seven said as he kissed Simon gently.
"I promise, I'll love you son, I'll never leave. My boy." Robert - who described his son as "my best friend" - added: "Please, please everybody, pray for my son."
A woman in the video can be heard suggesting that Simon could be unconscious for weeks.
It's understood that the young boy is a member of a settled Travelling community.
Police appeal for witnesses to collision on Glenravel Rd, Ballymena around 5pm on Saturday in which young boy struck by car. Info to 101.— PSNI (@PoliceServiceNI) September 10, 2017
The family have lived in the area for around two years. The collision happened near his home in the rural village, some 10 miles from Ballymena.
Paul Maguire, who is an independent councillor for the area, said that his thoughts and prayers were with all involved in the accident.
The Mid and East Antrim Borough Council representative said: "This is a tragic incident and I hope the young boy recovers quickly.
"I also want to offer my thanks to the emergency services and police who attended the scene."
The Northern Ireland air ambulance landed in playing fields close to the scene of the collision.
The young boy was taken from the scene in the helicopter.
A police spokesman said: "The boy was taken to hospital following the collision and remains in intensive care at this time.
"The driver of the car has been spoken to by police.
"The road was closed for a number of hours but has since reopened.
"Anyone who witnessed the collision is asked to contact officers at Ballymena station on 101 quoting reference number 957 09/09/17."
Neighbours of the Doherty family spoke of their shock.
One resident, who did not want to be named, said: "It's very sad and we hope the young lad has a speedy recovery.
"Everyone here is praying that he makes it through OK."
A spokesman for the Belfast Trust said yesterday: "The nine-year-old boy remains in a critical condition."