Driver and co-driver among injured after Cavan rally crash kills man and woman

A driver and co-driver were among those taken to hospital after a car-rally crash in Co Cavan that killed two spectators.

A total of seven injured people were taken to hospital after the accident this morning at the Cavan Stages Rally about one mile outside Bailieboro.

Gardaí said the victims, a man in his 40s and woman in her 30s, died at the scene.

A competing Ford Escort is believed to have lost control as it went over a bump and crashed into a fence outside a house, where spectators were standing.

The accident happened at about 11.10am about a mile outside Bailieboro.

Witness Matthew McMahon said he saw the car go over the crest of a road before he heard a skidding sound.

“I don’t know if something broke on the car or if he just lost control,” he told RTE radio’s This Week.

“Then I just heard people screaming and people shouting ’red flag, red flag, stop the stage’. Then all hell broke loose basically, with people crying, people white as ghosts as if something serious had happened.

“And then someone mentioned ’somebody’s been killed’, and we found out how serious it was.”

The extent of the injuries suffered by the spectators, driver and co-driver has not yet been revealed.

More than 100 cars were competing in the event, which had attracted thousands of spectators.

Gardaí and Motorsport Ireland, which governs the sport, have launched investigations.

The road and car are being forensically examined by collision investigators.

Cavan Motor Club said the accident happened on stage one of the special stages rally.

“At this time all our energy is focused on the families of those involved in this tragic accident,” it said.

“The relevant authorities were immediately advised of the incident and the rally rescue services attended the scene. An investigation has begun into all facts surrounding the accident.”

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) said it is not involved in the investigation as it was not a work-related incident.

Local resident, councillor Niamh Smyth, said the accident was devastating for the community.

“We have lost a lot of young lives in Bailieboro in the last 12 months, and this tragedy puts a huge darkness over the community again,” she said.

The tragedy also follows others which have devastated the sport in recent years.

Teenage rally fan Richard O’Donnell, from Strabane, was killed as he tried to cross a country road during the Donegal International Rally in 2008.

The 18-year-old was struck by a competing Ford Fiesta on the eleventh stage of the competition, which is one of the biggest sporting events in the country.

Two years ago, co-driver Thomas Maguire died in a crash in the Donegal rally, and in 2002 two stewards were also killed in the event.

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