herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Boy (15) drowned after riding horse into 'lethal' river

TRAGEDY

A TEENAGE boy drowned after he went in to a river on a horse only for the animal to be plunged underwater because of a sudden drop, a court in Cork heard yesterday.

Cork City Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane plans to write to the relevant authorities about erecting hazardous area signage at the Glashaboy River on the outskirts of the city following the death of Eric Stanton (15) on February 28.

Cork Coroner's Court heard that Eric and his friend Ruben often fed horses in a field in Glanmire and the owner also allowed the teenagers to ride the horses around the field.

Warned

Owner Sean Ryan said he warned the boys to never bring the horses down to the riverbank alone as there was a "hole" in the river and it was known locally as a dangerous spot.

Eric and his friend brought the horses to the Glashaboy River on February 28 and eyewitnesses reported seeing them go in to the river.

Florrie Crowley was among a number of men who tried to rescue Eric from the water.

"I saw one of the young fellas run up to my friend Thomas Noonan and he said his friend was in the water. It is known as a lethal part of the river. We were warned as children to stay away. I tied a rope around my waist and went in. I couldn't feel the ground under my feet.

"You could feel it (the current) dragging you. I was up to my neck in places."

Thomas Noonan and his brother Kevin also tried to help Eric. Thomas said he jumped in after he was told Eric had gone under. "It was like a whirlpool. It was deep in parts. I heard a young lad screaming. He said his friend had fallen in. He had gone under. He was in shock."

The emergency services were at the scene by 6.20pm just minutes after the alarm was raised.

Fire-fighter Ray Twohig went in to the river. Within minutes he found Eric and pulled him to the surface. CPR was administered at the scene by a local medic but Eric died a few hours later at Cork University Hospital (CUH).

Garda Sergeant Owen O'Connell was also at the scene. He said he was struck on the day by the absence of a life buoy. Dr Cullinane also expressed concern about the absence of signage denoting the dangers the river presented.

The court heard that Dr Margaret Bolster carried out a post mortem on Eric at CUH. It found that he died of a pulmonary haemorrhage due to drowning.

Depth

He would have lost consciousness instantly and his death would not have been painful. A verdict of misadventure was recorded in the case.

Dr Cullinane offered her condolences to the Stanton family at their tragic loss saying their son was "very loved and loving".

She stressed the boys would have assumed that bringing the horses in the water was safe as they naturally thought the depth was the same all along the river.

Eric is survived by his parents Jimmy and Catherine and his six siblings.

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