Boy, 8, dies in slurry accident in Northern Ireland

An eight-year-old boy has died and his father remains in a critical condition after a slurry tank accident on a farm in County Antrim.

Robert Christie was overcome by gases on Saturday afternoon (7 June). He and his father Bertie, 52, were airlifted to hospital in Belfast from the farm at Dunloy.

The father and son were from a neighbouring farm but had been helping out. Reports suggest they were either mixing or spreading slurry. It is believed they were found unconscious at the scene by a passerby.

See also Farmers need to know slurry gas dangers

Northern Ireland’s Health and Safety Executive (HSENI) has launched an investigation.

Keith Morrison, HSENI chief executive, said: “The news from Dunloy is devastating and my thoughts are first and foremost with members of the family and the local community at this terrible time. Incidents like this show starkly the dangers which our farming communities face and my heart goes out to those affected by this tragic accident.”

Mr Morrison added: “The facts tell us that farming is our most dangerous industry and that is why members of the Farm Safety Partnership – government and the farming industry together – will continue to work every day to try to avoid these tragic events occurring.

“Children on farms can be particularly vulnerable and the HSENI is working with local schools to raise awareness of the dangers on farms. We have also recently produced two new DVDs aimed specifically at ensuring child safety on farms and have made these available on YouTube and on the Farmsafe website .”

A spokesman for the Police Service of Northern Ireland said: “We are beginning an investigation into the incident but at the request of family members, police will not be releasing any further details at this time.”