The farming community in north Antrim has been shocked after the death of an eight-year-old boy in a slurry tank accident.
North Antrim DUP MLA Mervyn Storey said the tragedy happened earlier today [Saturday].
Mr Storey, who attended the scene outside Dunloy village, said the child’s father has also been left fighting for his life.
It is understood they were overcome with slurry fumes.
The 51-year-old father and his son were working on a farm near Dunloy, Co Antrim, when the accident happened.
Emergency services attended the scene but were unable to save the boy.
“This is a terrible tragedy that has rocked the tight knit north Antrim farming community,” said Mr Storey.
“You cannot begin to imagine what the family are going through.
“I know the strength, prayers and help of the local farming community will be needed to get them through this terrible time.”
TUV leader Jim Allister said: “It is deeply distressing to hear of another slurry tank tragedy. The involvement of a young boy makes it all the more heart rendering. The torment and loss of this Ballynaloob Road family can only be imagined.
“The risks which farming families face are often not fully understood in the wider community. The dangers are ever present and when they claim lives then it comes home to us all just how vulnerable farming families can be.
“My thoughts and prayers are very much with this family at this tragic time.”
Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay said: “Local people here are shocked at what has happened earlier today as are the farming community across North Antrim.
“The thoughts and prayers of everybody in this rural community are with the family of those involved in this tragic incident today.”
Ballymoney mayor John Finlay said: “There has been a tragic farm accident and I would like to say that the family are in my thoughts.
“The whole of the community here has been calling me to voice their concern for the family.”
North Antrim UUP MLA, Robin Swann, who is Chairman of the Stormont Employment and Learning Committee, has also expressed his sympathy
“to the family of the young boy who has tragically died and hope the man who was critically injured makes a full recovery”.
He said: “My own thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time and I appeal to the community to rally round the family circle by also remembering this family in their own devotional times, thoughts and prayers.
“It is becoming clear this is another terrible slurry tank accident.
“The fact remains that slurry is an ever present danger on most farms.”
A PSNI spokesman said: “Police can confirm that the Health and Safety Executive are currently conducting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding a farming accident in Dunloy on Saturday 7th June. At the request of family members police will not be releasing any further details at this time.”
In September 2012, up and coming Ulster rugby star Nevin Spence, his father Noel and brother Graham died after entering a slurry tank.
The tragedy happened after Graham, 30, went into the tank in an attempt to rescue a dog at the family’s farm outside Hillsborough, Co Down.
Nevin, 22, went in to assist his brother but also lost consciousness before 58-year-old Noel was killed trying to save his sons.