Gardaí launch investigation after tourist deaths on Gap of Dunloe
GARDAÍ have launched a full investigation into the tragic accident that claimed the lives of two tourists at the Gap of Dunloe on Monday afternoon.
The accident occurred shortly before 2pm when three pony and traps were descending from the Gap of Dunloe towards Kate Kearney’s Cottage.
A family of six from the US were taking a trip through the Gap, one of Kerry’s most famous beauty spots, on the traditional pony and trap. They had earlier travelled from Ross Castle to Lord Brandon’s by boat.
The deceased, who have been named as Rosalyn Joy Few and her Canadian partner Normand Larose, were travelling in the first of the three carts. The other two carts included Rosalyn’s daughter and her husband and their two children who had all come to Ireland together on a family holiday.
It is not known how the accident occurred, although there is speculation that something may have spooked the horse, causing him to bolt. The horse and trap and the two passengers plunged from the narrow road into a 20ft-deep ravine at an area known as The Turnpike.
The ponyman, who was driving the cart was uninjured in the accident. His horse had to be put down at the scene because of its injuries.
The ponyman, who has made the Gap of Dunloe journey throughout all of his working life, is understood to be traumatised by the freak accident which occurred a few miles above Kate Kearney’s cottage near the Ironbridge.
Superintendent Flor Murphy said Gardaí still have to establish what exactly happened and will speak to all witnesses, including the trap driver, in due course.
“We are happy that no other party was involved but we don’t know what happened yet,” he said.
South Kerry Cornorer Aisling O’Sullivan attended the scene of the accident as did members of Kerry Mountain Rescue who helped recover the bodies.
The Health and Safety Authority are currently liaising with Gardaí following the accident but their exact involvement in the forthcoming investigation is not yet known.
The incident is considered a work accident because the driver of the cart was at work but it is also a matter for the gardaí as it is a road traffic accident.
However, the HSA has yet to finalise if a full investigation will be carried out on the matter.
If a full investigation were to be carried out it could result in guidelines or recommendations being put in place surrounding the operation of the pony and trap service at the Gap of Dunloe.