Belfast Telegraph

Engineer (20s) killed in tree fall after Storm Ali hits Northern Ireland

  • A man is killed and another is injured in tree fall in Co Armagh
  • A woman dies after caravan cliff plunge in Galway
  • 91mph winds reported in NI
  • 90,000 cut off
  • 60 NI roads blocked during storm

By Michael Sheils McNamee and Jonathan Bell

An engineer in his 20s has been killed in a tree fall in Co Armagh amid the high winds of Storm Ali.

It understood the man was working near the entrance of Slieve Gullion Forest Park outside the village of Meigh when the incident happened.

He was working as a contractor for NI Water. A male colleague in his 40s was also hurt.

A NI Water spokesperson said: “NI Water is aware of an incident involving employees of one of our contractors.  Emergency services attended to two individuals. Sadly one of these people died at the scene.

“NI Water is currently working closely with the Emergency Services, the Health and Safety Executive and the PSNI and will do everything possible to assist.

“Our thoughts are with the families of those involved at this time.”

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Emergency services and a forensic officer at Slieve Gullion forest park in Co Armagh, where a contractor working for Northern Ireland Water died after he was hit by a falling tree as Storm Ali wreaked havoc across Ireland. Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The Health and Safety Executive said it is aware of the incident.

Meanwhile, 60 roads have been closed and over 90,000 properties across Northern Ireland cut off from the electricity grid after Storm Ali hit on Wednesday.

Northern Ireland Electricity Networks said it continued to face "extremely challenging" conditions. While it said over 70,000 customers had their power restored, there could still be more faults as the afternoon progressed. Hundreds of staff have been brought on to cope with the demand.

Work to repair power cuts affecting around 22,000 homes and businesses and remove debris on roads remains ongoing.

A spokesperson for NIE Networks said, “We are expecting that the vast majority of customers affected will have power restored tomorrow however some small, isolated pockets of customers are likely to be without power for longer.

“We are currently dealing with over a thousand individual faults on our network and our crews are working as quickly as possible to deal with them but the damage is extensive.”

It is the first big storm of the season with an amber warning issued for high winds and heavy showers throughout Wednesday. There have been reports of winds reaching 91mph.

Police said they are getting a high number of calls about road blockages. In south Belfast a lorry driver was taken to hospital with minor injuries after a tree hit his cab.

While trains have been put on a restricted speed limit, boats cancelled and flights delayed or cancelled.

The Met Office amber alert is in place until 5pm.

NIE Networks is reminding customers of the precautionary measures to take in the event of a power cut:

  • Never approach broken lines or damaged poles, and keep children and animals away - report damage to NIE Networks on 03457 643 643 and listen to recorded messages carefully
  • If you are using a generator, be careful where you site it in case of carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Turn off electric cookers, ovens, irons, etc. if electricity supply is lost
  • Leave a light switched on so you know when power has been restored
  • Take extra care if using candles, oil lamps or other naked flames
  • Test smoke alarms with fresh batteries
  • Ensure adequate ventilation if using gas heaters.

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Meanwhile in Galway emergency services attended the scene Claddaghduff after a caravan was blown off the cliff in which a woman died. RTE reports the home is on the coastline and has not been submerged by the water.

A total of 55,000 homes and businesses, mainly in the south-west of Ireland, have been left without power due to the bad weather, the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) said.

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