'Great tragedy and a huge shock' leaves Westport reeling

Crashed car removed from scene as locals leave flowers in tribute to dead boys

A car is removed from the scene in Westport, Co Mayo, where the bodies of two missing children where found in a crashed car.

A car is removed from the scene in Westport, Co Mayo, where the bodies of two missing children where found in a crashed car.


Three bunches of flowers – white chrysanthemums, an orange selection and a mixed flower purple posy – lie beside a diversion sign on the coast road near Westport Quay.

They are the first indications of the tragedy at Clooneen, Rosbeg, 3km away on the picturesque and winding route to the stunning coastline of Mayo’s Clew Bay.

A kilometre away from the diversion sign, Garda tape and a stop sign block the road where the bodies of Eoghan (10) and Ruairí (5) Chada were discovered in the boot of a car their father Sanjeev crashed at a T-junction on a boreen off the main Westport to Louisberg route.

Shortly before noon yesterday a tow truck arrived at the scene to take the car away for further Garda forensic and technical examination.

The truck was early and sat for some time on the tree-lined road before removing the vehicle, just after 1pm. The security tenting around the dark green Ford Focus hatchback had earlier been removed and tarpaulin was then lifted from the badly damaged car, crushed into the low stone wall in front of a house at the junction.

At the crash site, there was little movement in the quiet, scenic area of elegant detached homes set back from the road. A Garda van and several cars were parked near the scene. Uniformed gardaí manned checkpoints and road blocks on a number of minor roads and boreens leading to the Clooneen junction.

Under a cloud
“It is a great tragedy and a huge shock. There’s a cloud over the area,” said retired doctor Bert Farrell yesterday. He had just stepped out the gate of his Clooneen home for a walk on Monday afternoon when he came across the incident 50m away.

“I arrived about 15 minutes after the crash and the ambulances and gardaí were all there. I thought it was an ordinary sort of accident, that somebody wasn’t able to take the turn. They told me that two children had been found in the car,” he said.

Dr Farrell said an English doctor was at the scene. He saw the boys and confirmed they were dead.

In a nearby shop a young man spoke of driving past the crash scene minutes before the car hit the wall and was stunned to see the ambulances, Garda cars and fire tenders when returning a little later.

“Shocking, just shocking” was the man’s reaction almost 24 hours later, echoing the feelings of many.