Parents of a four-year-old boy fought back tears as a coroner heard today how he died tragically when a thick steel door fell on him.
Seconds earlier the boy, Daniel Cleary, had been helping hand-signal a Manitou telescopic loader driven by his uncle, Raymond Cleary, into position last June 2
Daniel’s heartbroken mother, Patricia Cleary, was just feet away and her other boy, two-year-old David was with his uncle in the loader cab.
The boys loved being in cabs of working machines around their home at Drumbar, near Donegal town, the inquest heard. It was also told that only one child was allowed inside the cab with an adult for safety reasons.
Patricia Cleary told how her brother-in-law decided to move two oil drums into a container with steel doors so they would not be stolen.
She told Coroner Dr Diarmuid Hegarty and the jury that Daniel was directing him by way of hand signals.
A small van blocked the view of what happened next. She said she saw the steel door fall forward. She was only 20 feet away. She told the inquest of reaching the door, which Raymond was already lifting,
Patricia added that she lifted Daniel in her arms and shouted for help. He was not conscious and she knew his injury was serious.
The inquest heard that little Daniel was pronounced dead at the scene by a doctor. Pathologist Dr Saman Abdulla, who examined the body at Letterkenny General Hospital, said the main cause of death was a serious fracture to the skull.
The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.
Coroner Hegarty told Daniel’s parents, Patricia and Keith – who was away on business at the time of the tragedy – that it was “a tragic, tragic accident”.
He added that he hoped with the passage of time the family would at least get some degree of closure.