Thursday, 18 Jul 2024

'A heart of gold behind his smile' – communities in mourning as two men are killed in horror car crash

Two communities were in mourning yesterday following a horrific crash that claimed the lives of two men.

The victims, named locally as Jack O’Hora (21) and Ricky Langdon (28), died after the car they were travelling in hit a tree in Co Mayo on Sunday night.

A third man, Declan Ferguson (29), was critically injured but was last night said to be in a stable condition in the local intensive care unit.

A Garda investigation into the incident, which happened along the Killala Road, Ballina, at around 11.15pm, was continuing last night.

Mr O’Hora, originally from nearby Castleconnor in Co Sligo, had been home visiting from the UK where he was a member of the British army.

The young man was well-known in his home parish of Ballina, where he is understood to have been staying while back in Ireland.

Mr Langdon, the driver of the car, was also well-known in Ballina.

The 28-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene in the early hours of Monday morning after the black Audi A6 vehicle he was driving crashed into the tree.

Mr O’Hora was taken from the scene to Mayo General Hospital, but was pronounced dead a short time later.

Mr Ferguson was understood to be in a stable condition.

Locals yesterday expressed their shock at the tragic loss of life, and described how all three men were well-known within the locality.

Jack O’Hora played with the Castleconner GAA club just across the county border in Sligo, before moving abroad to serve in the British army. He is survived by his parents and three siblings.

Last night, Castleconnor Racquetball Club extended its “sincere sympathies to the O’Hora family on the tragic passing of Jack”. The message was posted on their club’s Facebook page above a collage of images of Jack O’Hora.

Mr Langdon had worked in a local garage in recent years and came from a large family living in the area.

A relative yesterday paid tribute to him on social media, describing him as having “a heart of gold behind his smile”.

Local councillor Gerry Ginty, who lives close to the scene of the fatal crash, described how friends of the two victims gathered at the scene when news of the tragedy emerged.

“A large crowd of teenagers and people in their 20s gathered at the scene in shock. It was a very bad sight, they were all in a terrible state,” he said.

“The lads are from Ballina and come from well-respected families. My thoughts are with them all.

“My heart goes out to the poor mothers and fathers who were woken up to the horrible news,” Mr Ginty said.

Cllr Jarlath Munnelly said the two deaths have affected the whole community.

“There aren’t words to describe how the community feels. It’s shocking in Ballina; people know each other well and when news starts to break through and people discover who the families of those involved are it effects everyone,” he said.

The stretch of roadway where the crash happened was sealed off until late yesterday afternoon to allow for a forensic examination.

Shortly before 3pm, two trucks removed the main chassis of the car and a smaller section of the vehicle.

Ballina gardaí are continuing their investigation into the crash and called for anyone who witnessed the incident to come forward.

A spokesman said: “Gardaí are renewing their appeal for witnesses after two men in their 20s were fatally injured following a road collision on Killala Road, Ballina, Co Mayo, on Sunday at approximately 11.15pm.

“Gardaí are also appealing to the drivers of any vehicles that may have passed through the townland of Kilmoremoy close to the Costcutters Supermarket, between 10.20pm and 11.15pm, and who may have dash-cam footage, to contact Ballina garda station (096) 20560 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.”

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