Car swept away by avalanche of slurry

A Limerick woman last night told of her nightmare ordeal at being trapped in her car as it was swept off a road and down into a field by an avalanche of slurry from a roadside farm.

Car swept away by avalanche of slurry

Joan McLoughlin, aged 60, of Farnane, Cappamore, said: “I was travelling between Doon and Cappamore, coming up to 10 o’clock, when all of a sudden this black wave hit into the side of the car and swept me along with it. I was helpless. I couldn’t control the car as it was carried in over a ditch and down into a field.

“I was carried along for about another 30 yards into the field. I didn’t know what was happening. It was just like a black tsunami flood coming from nowhere.

“When I came to a stop, I couldn’t open the door and I was terrified that if a window in the car broke, it would come in on top of me. I cried out for help and thanks be to God a neighbour heard me and raised the alarm.”

Two units of Cappamore fire brigade were on the scene within minutes.

Firefighters clambered down a 6ft embankment into the field and waded through slurry which was up to 4ft deep, before getting to Ms McLoughlin.

They quickly freed her from her Ford Fiesta. Ms McLoughlin, who was in a state of shock, was taken by stretcher to an ambulance.

Her husband, Hugh McLoughlin, a 64-year-old retired ESB official, said his wife was very traumatised by her experience.

“One of those who got to the scene said she was lucky in a way that she was not able to get out of the car, because if she had done so, she would have been overwhelmed and swamped by the slurry. I would hate to think of the consequences.”

Limerick County Council officials estimate that anything up to 80,000 gallons of slurry deluged out of the farm containment pit when part of a 12ft-high wall collapsed.

The slurry pit is located on a farm owned by the Crowe family at Cooga, Doon.

Council officials, the Health and Safety Authority, and Inland Fisheries were assessing the situation last night and planning environmental remedial action for the damage caused.

Limerick city/county senior fire officer Carmel Kirby, said that a clean-up operation began yesterday morning, and the Inland Fisheries inspected streams and rivers.

The slurry pit, which is about 20m from the road, was inspected and secured.

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