Boys dead before crash in Mayo, gardaí believe

Eoghan and Ruairí Chada had been reported missing by their mother

Sanjeev Chada with his sons Eoghan and Ruairí. Photograph: Family handout photo/Garda/PA Wire

Sanjeev Chada with his sons Eoghan and Ruairí. Photograph: Family handout photo/Garda/PA Wire


Gardaí believe the two boys taken from a crashed car near Westport in Co Mayo yesterday were already dead before the crash.

The single-vehicle crash happened in the townland of Clooneen, Rossbeg, Westport, shortly before 4pm. The driver of the Ford Focus car, which had smashed into a wall, survived the impact. He was taken by ambulance to Mayo General Hospital about 20km away. His injuries were said to be not life-threatening.

The boys were identified as Eoghan (10) and Ruairí (5) Chada of Ballinkillen, Bagenalstown, Co Carlow. They had been reported missing by their mother early yesterday when they had not returned home with their father, Sanjeev, who had left home with them on Sunday evening to go bowling.

Fr Charlie McDonnell, the administrator of Westport parish, administered the last rites.

“This is still very raw,” he said. “It’s all under investigation by the gardaí. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment at this stage.”

The car involved in the crash had been driven at speed down a side road on to the main Westport to Louisburgh road and hit a stone wall.

Shock and disbelief

The car, hidden behind a blue and white forensic tent, was still at the scene last evening with the bodies of the young boys still inside.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Khalid Jabbar and members of the Garda Technical Bureau were on their way to the scene, reporters were told.

Cathaoirleach of Westport Town Council Michael McLaughlin said there was a feeling of shock and disbelief in the town over what happened.

“This is an absolutely shocking tragedy,” he added.

Retired garda Christy Hyland, a current member of Westport town council, said the incident was one of the worst tragedies in the area’s history that he remembered.

“This is our darkest hour,” Mr Hyland said. “This tragedy has occurred the day after the national pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick, which is normally the most joyous time of the year.”