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Boy killed by falling tombstone

A four-year-old boy has died after a 6ft tombstone weighing hundreds of pounds fell on top of him at a historic US cemetery.

The boy was posing for photos with his family and friends when the incident took place in the Utah ski resort town of Park City, authorities said.

Carson Dean Cheney was holding on to the headstone on Thursday when some metal connecting it to the pedestal broke, Park City police captain Phil Kirk said.

Some of the children being photographed were not being responsive, so Carson tried to help the photographer - his father - by pretending to be a leprechaun and making them laugh, said Curtis Morley, a family friend.

Mr Morley said the boy went behind a tombstone and was playfully poking his head out from behind it when it fell. "Carson passed away while trying to make others smile," Mr Morley said.

Carson loved to ride his bike and was "full of life", said his grandmother, Geri Gibbs. "There's still so much disbelief and sorrow and anguish," she said. "We just keep waiting for the door to open up and Carson to come through, a happy little boy."

She said it took three men to lift the slab off the boy, and rescuers "did everything they could possibly do". The child suffered injuries to his head, chest and abdomen and was taken to the nearby Park City Medical Centre, where he died. Investigations into the incident are continuing.

Ms Gibbs said the boy and his family were visiting from Lehi, about an hour away from Park City. Mr Morley, who works with the boy's father, Zac Cheney, at a professional services firm in Salt Lake City, said Mr Cheney does photography in his spare time and was shooting portraits at the cemetery because of its extensive landscaping.

Park City police chief Wade Carpenter said the 4in-thick coarse stone at the Glenwood Cemetery in Park City marked the grave of someone who died in the 1800s.

Bruce Erickson, president of the Glenwood Cemetery Association, said the private, five-acre cemetery around the corner from the Park City Mountain Resort was founded by a society of silver miners in 1885, and many of the tombstones are at least 100 years old. The cemetery is open to the public and still accepts burials of people connected to the mining society. New burials happen about once a year, Mr Erickson said, and families are responsible for maintaining the headstones. He added that the cemetery will likely be closed through the weekend.


From Belfast Telegraph