DONEGAL MOTOR CLUB REACTION TO FATAL ACCIDENT
It is with deep sadness that this release is sent to you......
The Organisers of the Shell Donegal Rally 2002 have released further details of the fatal accident, which occurred on special stage two, at Cloghan, Co. Donegal yesterday. This comes following the statement issued by MotorSport Ireland, relating to the emergency meeting called in Dublin early on Sunday morning.
A spokesman for Donegal Motor Club said that the accident occurred near the start of the test on a bumpy straight. A competing car veered abruptly off the road, colliding with two safety marshals and a photographer.
Following competitors gave immediate notice of the accident and the Rally rescue plan was put into operation. The main rally was automatically diverted away from the area and competitors were held at a service control.
The Rally medical and rescue teams arrived at the scene within minutes and began treating those involved. Despite their intensive efforts two men George Clarke aged 22, from Moville in County Donegal and Gerard McKenna, aged 22, from Co. Armagh succumbed to their injuries.
The other person injured, local photographer Mr. Clive Wasson was removed to Letterkenny General Hospital for treatment of his injuries and later transferred to Dublin. Mr. Wasson is a very good friend of Donegal Motor Club, and his family has close ties to the Motor Club for almost thirty years.
Rally officials and competitors were devastated at the news. A Club spokesman commented: "Our sport relies on safety marshals to monitor and control spectators while the event is running. George and Gerard had secured the area and were themselves positioned off the road and away from the anticipated path of the competing cars. It is very difficult to accept that they were hurt while protecting others. It was through their action that members of the public spectating on the stages, were prevented from entering this particular area, and as a result no other casualties occurred."
He continued: "We are all absolutely stunned by this. Our hearts to out to the Clarke and McKenna families in their loss. Everyone here, from the officials to the competitors, are deeply upset and distressed by the accident, and cancelling the Rally was our first thought."
"We are heartbroken that these two young men have lost their lives through their involvement with the Rally and that Clive Wasson has been injured. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families and we extend our condolences to them. Additionally as a Club, we would like to extend our grief for other young lives lost, particularly those lost or missing in our County last week; the young student who attends a Letterkenny college, was drowned on a canoeing trip in France, and the young tourist missing while out walking on the west coast on the County. We really feel for these people, their families and friends, at this time."
Declan Mc Cay & Damian Crawford
Donegal Motor Club