The father of a nine-year-old girl who was run over by a train said it was “a miracle” his daughter was not killed in the freak incident.
Mary Ryan is stable in hospital after her narrow escape on the railway line outside the station in Tipperary.
It appears the girl, who has autism, climbed over the garden fence of her home which adjoins the railway line and was sitting on the track when the train approached from Limerick Junction.
A blast of wind from the train blew her to the ground and the fall knocked her unconscious, according to her father Matt Hayes. She was left lying on the track as the train passed over her.
“It was a miracle,” said Mr Hayes. “Someone must have been looking after her.”
His partner, Breda Ryan, last night kept a bedside vigil beside their daughter in the intensive care unit at South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel.
He said the family was “in shock” as a result of the incident, which occurred just after 7pm on Monday.
The girl, who loves climbing, was playing in the back garden of the house on Station Rd in Tipperary and got over the back fence, which is about 2m high, when her mother went upstairs to get something.
When she came back downstairs, she noticed her daughter was gone. A few minutes later she found her unconscious on the rail track but realised that she was still breathing.
Emergency services were immediately called to the scene and Mary was rushed by ambulance to hospital in Clonmel, suffering from a head injury as a result of falling backwards onto the ground.
Investigations have been launched by the gardaí, Iarnród Éireann and the Rail Accident Investigation unit following the incident which centred on the 6.50pm service from Limerick Junction to Waterford.
There were only eight passengers on the train at the time.
They were all transferred by bus as the rail line was immediately closed for an initial investigation.
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