Charolais bullLibrary image © Design Pics inc/REX/Shutterstock

A 57-year-old Northern Ireland farmer has escaped with his life after the four-year-old bull he was loading on to a trailer turned and attacked him.

Beef farmer Ciaran McFadden managed to run and hide under a slurry tanker, but the bull attacked the piece of machinery and tried to overturn it.

Mr McFadden, who has bred Charolais cattle for more than 30 years, said he is lucky to be alive following the attack on his farm near the village of Mountfield, County Tyrone.

See also: Top tips for safe cattle handling to avoid injury

His terrifying ordeal lasted for 15 minutes before he managed to call a neighbouring farmer on his mobile phone who came and coaxed the animal away with a tractor.

The farmer escaped with only an injured shoulder following the attack which is the latest in a series of incidents involving bulls in Northern Ireland.

“I’m so lucky to be alive,” said Mr McFadden. “The bull turned on me as I was loading him on to a trailer to take him to the mart.

“I managed to get away and hide under a tanker, but he came after me and was trying to overturn it.

“All I could think of was that I wouldn’t see another day. The whole thing probably lasted about 15 minutes, but I was drifting in and out and it seemed an awful lot longer with a bull trying to get at me“”

Other incidents

In another recent incident, farming “stalwart” Breige McKeefry, aged in her 70s, died following a tragic accident on the family farm in County Londonderry, where she had been helping her husband move cattle.

According to local reports, she was suddenly attacked by at least one of the animals.

Emergency services were called to the farm, off Carhill Road in Garvagh at about 2.30pm on Wednesday (19 October).

Medics treated Mrs McKeefry at the scene and she was rushed to the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine where she died from her injuries later that evening.

Mrs McKeefry’s death is the third tragedy to affect farms in Northern Ireland in recent weeks.

Young farmer James Irwin, 30, was killed after becoming trapped in farm machinery in County Tyrone on 11 September.

And father-of-five Alastair Sloss died in a slurry accident on 14 October.

Northern Ireland farm fatality figures for the past five years 

2011-12

9 fatalities

2012-13

11 fatalities

2013-14

4 fatalities

2014-15

9 fatalities

2015-16

6 fatalities

2016-17 (to date)

4 fatalities

(Source: Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland)