The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - NEWS - By DÓNAL NOLAN

IT took fire fight­ers more than an hour to crack a se­cu­rity van to res­cue its un­con­scious driver, the sole oc­cu­pant, after it crashed in a field out­side Tar­bert on Fri­day.

The se­cu­rity van crashed through a ditch and came to rest in a field on its side a mile out­side Tar­bert on the Bal­ly­long­ford Road at roughly 10.30am on Fri­day.

The alarm was raised im­me­di­ately by lo­cals, but it took fire fight­ers over an hour to cut into the locked-down cab of the van as they strug­gled to pen­e­trate the ar­moured, metal plat­ing with ‘jaws’ and spreader equip­ment.

The emer­gency per­son­nel were forced to use a con­saw to cut through the re­in­forced wind­screen in or­der to get to the driver, who lay un­con­scious with a no­tice­able head in­jury for the du­ra­tion of the res­cue.

Lis­towel and Tar­bert gar­daí, Lis­towel paramedics and Lis­towel fire fight­ers, along with mem­bers of the Bally­bunion Coast­guard, at­tended the scene with the Shannon Coast­guard he­li­copter tasked to take the stricken driver to Cork Univer­sity Hospi­tal.

It is sus­pected the driver, a Lim­er­ick man in his 50s, suf­fered a stroke at the wheel of the van.

The Ker­ry­man un­der­stands that he had not re­gained con­scious­ness by the time he was taken from the scene. He re­mains in Cork Univer­sity Hospi­tal.

Lo­cals are un­der­stood to have heard an alarm sound­ing from the van be­fore they heard the sound of the crash. Wit­nesses are asked to con­tact An Garda Síochána.

The Shannon Coast­guard he­li­copter at­tend­ing the scene of the crashed se­cu­rity van out­side Tar­bert on Fri­day.

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