A Good Samaritan dog rescuer and five of his charges had a lucky escape when their van crashed off a busy motorway and down an embankment yesterday.
The incident happened at around 3.30pm on the M18 motorway near the townland of Tubber on the Clare/Galway border.
The vehicle was travelling northbound towards Gort when the driver apparently lost control and ploughed through a steel crash barrier and timber fencing.
The van crashed down an embankment and came to rest on it’s side, leaving the driver and his five dogs trapped inside. It’s thought that the soft ground prevented the van from travelling any further to to being damaged further.
Units of the fire brigade from Gort in Galway and Ennis, Co Clare responded to the incident along with an ambulance and Gardaí.
Fire crews cut a square in the windshield of the van so they could safely release the driver and his dogs.
The driver was assessed the treated at the scene before being transported to University Hospital Limerick for treatment. His injuries are not believed to be serious.
An animal welfare officer was called to take charge of the animals. ISPCA Dog Warden for Clare, Mr Frankie Coote praised the emergency services and road’s maintenance staff for their efforts.
“These were five dogs that were rescued by the man. The fire brigade and motorway crews did a great job getting the dogs out safely and keeping them calm,” Mr Coote said.
“I took the animals to our pound in Ennis where a vet examined them. One of the dogs is a bit shaken but they are all in good shape. I’ll keep them here until the driver is in a position to collect them,” he added.
It’s understood that the driver, who is from the UK, is someone who has recently gotten involved in dog rescue where he takes animals that have been abandoned or neglected and cares for them.
Meanwhile, while emergency services death with the motorway incident, Ennis fire service was requested to respond to two separate medical emergencies in the town but could only respond to one as all crews were tied up.
One unit of the brigade responded from Ennis fire station while another crew left the motorway incident and rushed to the scene of a cardiac rest in Roslevan.
It’s understood that the National Ambulance Service requested assistance from the fire brigade as no ambulance was available locally at the time.
A rapid response advanced paramedic (AP) unit was available and responded to the scene. Fire crews assisted the AP until an ambulance arrived.
The man in his 70’s suffered a cardiac arrest in a local pub but was resuscitated by emergency crews. He was rushed to University Hospital Limerick where he was being treated last night.