Two men die while working on bridge in Limerick city
Workers died when platform they were using fell into river during work on bridge
Emergency vehicles on Thomond Bridge in Limerick where three men working in a cage on the Shannon river side fell into the water. Two of the men died. Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22
The scene near Thomond Bridge in Limerick. Photograph: Liam Burke/Press 22
Two men have drowned while carrying out remedial works on Thomond Bridge in Limerick city on Saturday.
Essential maintenance work was being carried out on the waterside walls of one of Limerick’s oldest bridges on behalf of the council by three men when the incident occurred at about 3.30pm.
It is understood that a cable holding the cage-like structure in which the men were working gave way, plunging the men into the river.
All three were wearing life jackets but also had harnesses tethered to the cage. It is understood the men were under water for at least ten minutes without breathing equipment.
One man managed to free his harness and swim free, but the other two were trapped when the cage became submerged.
The victims - one of whom is aged 36 - are from O'Brien's Bridge, Co Clare and Castleisland, Co Kerry.
A statement issued on behalf of Limerick City and County Council said: “It is with deep regret that Limerick City and County Council can confirm that two employees of a firm contracted to undertake remedial works to Thomond Bridge in Limerick city have died in a workplace incident this afternoon.
“The Council is liaising with An Garda Síochána and the Health and Safety Authority in relation to the incident.
“The Thomond Bridge is presently undergoing remedial works, which commenced on Monday last.
“Limerick City and County Council wishes to extend its deepest sympathies to the families and colleagues of the deceased.”
Three units from Limerick City Fire and Rescue attended the scene when the alarm was raised.
Three specially trained swift water rescue technicians were deployed to the bridge as part of the rescue and freed the men from their harnesses.
Members of Limerick Marine Search and Rescue also attended the emergency and assisted in bringing the men to the slipway at Clancy Strand, where medical assistance was given by emergency paramedics.
All three men were then brought to University Hospital Limerick where two of the men were pronounced dead.
Divers from Limerick Marine Search and Rescue helped raise the cage-like structure from the water on Saturday evening and it has been was removed from the scene.
Thomond Bridge remains closed off while a number of investigations are underway.