Belfast Telegraph

OAP dies in quad bike tragedy at sawmill

Man suffers fatal injuries after falling from four-wheeler

By John Mulgrew

A pensioner who died after an accident on a quad bike was a “hard working” and “lovely character who will be missed by all”, a family friend said.

Eric Irvine (73) suffered head injuries after falling from the vehicle shortly after starting it at his family-run sawmill on the Badoney Road in Trillick, Co Tyrone, yesterday morning.

He was taken to the South West Acute hospital in Co Fermanagh but died a short time later from his injuries.

Close friend and councillor Bert Wilson said: “It was such a tragic accident.

“He was getting on the bike and it must have gone off.

“It really has been a complete shock.

“Eric has been at the mill for a lifetime and even though he wasn’t as active as he used to be, he had a very active brain.”

Mr Wilson’s son Norman is married to Mr Irvine’s daughter Jill. He said she was “still in a daze” about what had happened to her father.

“She is really shocked. She was very close to her father. Jill is expecting a baby in September, it’s just terrible,” he said.

“He’s a character who will be missed in the area.

“He always had a wee yarn to tell you and was really well liked.”

Mr Irvine leaves behind his wife Violet and five grown-up children.

A spokesman for the Ambulance Service said they received a call at 9.15am yesterday and arrived on the scene a short time later before taking Mr Irvine to hospital.

Mr Wilson said his friend “wouldn’t have an enemy anywhere”.

“He was a real character and in his younger days he would have been really into his bikes.

“He and his wife Violet would have always headed off to the North West 200. He will be missed,” he added.

Meanwhile, a motorcyclist was seriously injured in a crash at the Ulster Grand Prix at Dundrod.

Lee Vernon (24), from Stoke-on-Trent, was taken to hospital after crashing off the track on the third lap of the Superbike event causing the race to be halted.

Organisers at Dundrod said the young rider had sustained serious injuries and had been taken to hospital.

Ballymoney’s Michael Dunlop was declared the winner of the race as he was leading from Guy Martin and Conor Cummins at the time of the accident.

Another rider — Paul Jordan — suffered a broken leg in another accident.

Belfast Telegraph

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