American couple killed in freak accident after carriage horse 'bolted'
A tourist couple have been killed in a freak road accident involving a horse and carriage.
The Americans, in their 60s, were on a family day out with younger relatives when the tragedy happened at the Gap of Dunloe, Co Kerry, yesterday.
They are understood to be of Irish extraction but lived in Phoenix, Arizona.
Victims Rosalyn Joy Few (64) and her partner, who has not yet been named, were with a group of six, which included Ms Few's daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren.
Gardai are attempting to establish the exact cause of the incident.
A senior source last night told the Herald that early indications are that the horse became startled and bolted.
As a result, the occupants were thrown from the carriage and fell down steep terrain, suffering catastrophic injuries in the process.
Emergency services rushed to the scene, but the couple were pronounced dead soon after.
The driver, a local man and experienced jarvey, escaped serious injuries but is understood to be deeply shaken.
Gardai were last night continuing to inform the victims' next of kin abroad about the tragedy.
Ms Few's daughter was travelling in a separate carriage and came across the scene moments after the accident, but did not witness it.
"The deceased are a couple from the US, and they were around 3km into their journey when the fatal incident occurred," the source revealed.
"They were with another group who came across the scene in the immediate aftermath.
"They are absolutely distraught, as you can imagine."
It is understood that the family group had begun their day out at the popular Kate Kearney cottages, which are located around 3km from the scene of the incident.
The bodies of the two victims were transferred by hearse to Kerry General Hospital shortly before 6pm yesterday evening.
The Office of the State Pathologist has been notified and is expected to carry out two post-mortems today.
Gardai and emergency services at the scene of the tragedy were assisted by members of the Kerry Mountain Rescue Team, whose expertise was required given the terrain involved.
Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce expressed its sympathy to the family.
Chamber president Paul O'Neill said the tragedy had stunned the entire community.
"We are all shocked and saddened by this most tragic accident," he said.
"The Gap of Dunloe is one of Ireland's most popular tourist destinations, a place that brings joy to tourists the world over.
"We are devastated that a visit to it by this couple would end in such tragic circumstances.
"The people of Killarney extend our heartfelt sympathies to all affected by this tragedy and will do whatever we can to support the family during this very sad time."
The Mayor of Killarney, Niall Kelleher, has also passed on his condolences to the family.
The tragic accident had caused "great shock and upset throughout the entire community," he said.
"The Gap of Dunloe is one of the most naturally beautiful places in the entire country, but there is a dark cloud overhead this evening as everyone comes to terms with what happened," he added.
Almost a year ago, in May 2016, an American tourist was killed while cycling through the Gap of Dunloe.