A PORTARLINGTON man escaped narrowly with his life after he was trapped under the skip of a lorry last Thursday morning.
Colleagues of Ciarán Donogher, who was working on the hydraulic ram of a roll-on roll-off skip lorry at Brian Murphy Precision Engineering on Canal Road, raised the alarm when they heard his shouts for help and saw that he was trapped.
Within minutes, personnel from the nearby fire station were in attendance. Shortly afterwards, they were joined by ambulance crews and gardaí as well as a unit from Portlaoise Fire Station. The approach roads were closed off and traffic was diverted from the area.
A friend of Mr Donogher, who didn’t want to be named, takes up the story: “The lads in the yard were telling me that Ciarán noticed oil dripping from under the lorry. When he went to inspect it, he saw that the oil was coming from a ram that holds up the skip. He went to get a spanner. As he was working on the ram, it came down on him. He was trapped sideways under it. But luckily, he received no head injuries. The lads said that the ambulance and firemen were absolutely brilliant, talking to him all the time while they worked to free him.
Mr Donogher was taken from the scene by an air ambulance and brought to Tallaght hospital.
Station officer Fran Nolan from Portarlington Fire Station was commander-on-site during the incident. Senior assistant chief fire officer Shea Brennan, who arrived at the scene, said that in his years in the fire service, the operation to extricate Mr Donogher had been one of the most difficult and complicated.
However, he said that without the expertise of Mr Donogher’s work colleagues and the assistance from the ambulance crews and gardaí, the operation to free him would have taken a lot longer.
Officer Brennan said: “The lads were great with their expertise and vast knowledge of lifting heavy equipment. They worked alongside fire brigade, guards and the ambulance crews. Without their expertise, it would have been more difficult. The lads called up a truck that was about a mile away that had a Hiab lift on it. They also had oxygen acetylene burning gear. We also had specialised cutting equipment with us. Between us, we managed to lift the weigh off Mr Donogher and get him out. It took over an hour of an operation.”
Officer Brennan said that the ambulance crews took the decision to call up an air ambulance, which took the injured man to Tallaght hospital.