Fatal ESB explosion prompts safety probe

THE Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is investigating an explosion that killed a 38-year old man and injured two others at an ESB power plant.

Pat McCroghan, 38, died in Cork University Hospital yesterday after he was injured in an accident at Tarbert generating station, Co Kerry, on Thursday afternoon.

Mr McCroghan was an electrician who had worked with the ESB since 1981. The single man from Doon, Tralee, is survived by his parents Eileen and PJ, sister Breda and brother Maurice.

Mr McCroghan’s sister is flying home from New York today for her brother’s funeral.

Electrical supervisor Michael Healy, 48, remains in a critical condition at CUH. The married father-of-four is a native of Tieraclea, Tarbert.

Another man injured in the explosion, Dermot Thornton, 43, from Corbally in Limerick City, was treated for burns at CUH. He was in a stable condition last night.

Tarbert parish priest Fr Maurice Brick prayed with workers at the power station yesterday morning.

“There is a feeling of numbness around Tarbert village which is usually a very quiet place,” he said.

“The workers at Tarbert are a very close- knit group and this has shocked them all.”

HSA chief executive Tom Beegan confirmed the authority is investigating the fatal accident.

“Our inspectors are onsite and the investigation will continue until all relevant information has been gathered,” he said.

The company is also carrying out its own inquiry into the electrical explosion. The ESB said it will co-operate fully with the HSA investigation.

Mr McCroghan was transferred by ambulance from Tralee General Hospital to CUH on Thursday afternoon.

The emergency services were alerted when staff reported a flash from the switching gear room where the three men were working.

ESB chairman Tadhg O’Donoghue, chief executive Padraig McManus, and TEEU general secretary Owen Wills offered condolences to Mr McCroghan’s family.

Five TEEU members have now died in accidents where high-tension switching is used to connect power supplies.

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