One man killed in workplace incident in Portmarnock

Another man critical following sewer incident in north county Dublin


A man has died and another is on a life support machine in Beaumont Hospital after they were overcome by noxious fumes while working in a sewer in Portmarnock.

The men were carrying out routine maintainance work for their company Draintech at a housing estate on the outskirts of the north Dublin suburb when they got into difficulties.

Emergency services responded to the incident at around 3pm, and three ambulances were sent along to the scene along with a number of Dublin Fire Brigade appliances as fire officers attempted to enter the sewer and rescue the men.

The workers were operating in a pit 20 feet below surface level when one of them was overcome by the fumes and collapsed, said a spokesman for the fire brigade. The second man then lost consciousness as he attempted to resuscitate his colleague.

Upon arrival, two fire officers descended into the sewer and retrieved both men, who were transferred to Beaumont Hospital. One man was confirmed dead by advanced paramedics during the ambulance journey, while gardaí say the second man remains in a critical condition.

Three firefighters also became ill during the rescue operation. They were admitted to hospital as a precautionary measure but were released soon after.

“It’s a very difficult operation, it’s a very narrow pit, very narrow ladder. The two men were at the bottom of the pit, they were retrieved with the help of a rope system to the surface but unfortunately one passed away,” said Gerry Stanley of Dublin Fire Brigade.

“I believe it’s regular maintenance work that’s carried out once or twice a year to clean the pumps and maintain the pumps,” he added.

Both men were said to have performed similar operations on a regular basis. A Health and Safety Authority investigation into the incident is now underway.

It was reported early that two men had died but gardaí later confirmed a single fatality had occured.

Draintech is a family-run industrial cleaning services business based in Clonlee, Co Dublin.

Local politicians expressed sympathies. “Absolute sympathies to the families and the colleagues of the two workers who passed away who were just doing their ordinary, everyday work,” said Labour Party councillor Brian McDonough.

“I know everybody would be very shocked and I know residents would be extremely shocked that something like this has happened on their estate.”

Malahide-based Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell also posted his condolences on social media.

The dead man will not be officially named until all his family members are informed.