Farm safety plea after second family tractor tragedy

A plea has been made for farmers to beware the dangers of their profession, as it emerged Friday’s fatal tractor accident was the second one to hit the same family in recent years.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 7th June 2021, 7:51 am
The accident took place in a field off the Bregagh Road, the long straight road in the centre here leading to the Dark Hedges

UUP politician Joan Baird stressed that the death of John Jamison, her cousin, should cause others working in the sector to reflect on all the possible precautions they can take when operating machines.

Her own husband John Hanna had died when a tractor he was driving toppled over onto him in 2015 – also in the north Antrim area.

In the wake of Friday’s accident at a farm close to the Dark Hedges, just to the south of Armoy village, a number of sources said that Mr Jamison, aged 79, had been rescued from under the tractor by locals before the emergency services reached him.

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He had been pinned in the same spot underneath the vehicle for three days.

Despite their efforts, he died at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast after being airlifted there by helicopter.

His funeral is to be held on Monday.

Jim Allister, TUV MLA for North Antrim, said the length of time Mr Jamison had lain trapped “adds to the tragic dimension” of the accident.

“When he was found, it seems locals used Herculean efforts to try and help him, and they got the tractor off him. To live such a long life, and then to die in this way, is very sad.”

Alderman Baird told the News Letter: “Tractors are such dangerous things.

“It’s like all farm equipment; there’s so many type of accidents.

“People just generally don’t think very much – they just go on with their day’s work.”

Her husband, 66-year-old John Hanna, who was a UUP councillor for 22 years in Banbridge, had been on his way to a vintage tractor rally in Ballintoy when his tractor overturned in June 2015, not far from Ms Baird’s mother’s house.

He was pinned beneath it and is thought to have died immediately.

Mr Hanna was found by a postman and a neighbour. Ms Baird (who had opted to keep her maiden name) was attending a funeral at the time, and was summoned to the scene by family.

It was not entirely clear how Mr Hanna’s vehicle overturned.

And, likewise, there were few firm details of how exactly Mr Jamison became trapped under his tractor in a field last Tuesday.

“It’s another case of a tragic farm accident,” Ms Baird said, adding that her husband’s death made Mr Jamison’s all the more “poignant”.

“I do hope and trust that other farmers will think long and hard about their safety on farms.

“Because machinery is just simply so, so dangerous. It’s such a dangerous situation and people don’t often think enough about it.”

A funeral notice pasted online said that Mr Jamison had been the “much loved brother of Charlie, Rae, Boyd and the late Julia and a very dear brother-in-law and uncle”.

It added: “Funeral from DJM Robinson & Son Funeral Home on Monday at 1.30pm to Armoy Presbyterian Church for Service at 2pm (family and friends with social distancing), burial afterwards in the adjoining graveyard.”

It recommended donations in lieu of flowers to the Northern Ireland Air Ambulance (care of DJM Robinson & Son. 121 Culcrum Road, Cloughmills BT44 9DT).

It ended simply with the words: “The Lord is my Shepherd.”

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