Wednesday 26 October 2016

'We have lost one of our kindest and brightest' - Boy (14) dies in river tragedy

Donal English Hayden with his gold medal in the U16 pole vault.
Donal English Hayden with his gold medal in the U16 pole vault.

A young teenager who tragically died in a farm accident was described as one of the “brightest, kindest and most talented” youngsters in his small rural community.

Donal English Hayden (14) was tragically killed and his brother Seamus (15) was injured after a trailer they had been travelling in, which was being towed by a tractor, plunged into a river at Rathoe, Co Carlow.

The talented young athlete had been working on a family friend’s farm when the tragedy stuck shortly after 10.30am.

“The machinery was traveling along the banks of a river, which runs through the farm, when the bank collapsed.

“It’s believed Donal was trapped underwater for up to 10 minutes,” a source said.


The boys were rushed to St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny  shortly after the alarm was raised, but Donal couldn’t be saved. His parents Matt and Noleen were last night said to be inconsolable.

Donal’s father ran as an Independent councillor in the last local election, and the young athlete was the second youngest in a family of seven children.

A family member of the farmer who owns the land where the accident happened said everyone is “devastated” by the tragedy.

“We can’t believe it, we just can’t believe it,” he said. “Such a beautiful young man was taken from us.” Local curate Brendan Howard said that Donal’s family is “highly respected” in the community.

“They are a fantastic family, everybody who knows them loves them.

“They are involved in every kind of sport from GAA to athletics and rugby, and young Donal won a gold medal at the community games.

“This is a tragedy to have befallen our community. We have lost one of our kindest, brightest and most talented young residents,” he said.

Donal was a grandson of three-time All-Ireland winning Wexford hurler Jim English.

He proudly represented his local athletics club at competitions including the Community Games and specialised in the pole vault.

“He was great, a very dedicated young man. A very energetic young man and he never missed a training session,” said PL Curran of Carlow Athletics club.

HSA and garda investigations are continuing in relation to the incident.

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