ONE person has died and another injured following an accident during the Clare Stages rally this afternoon.
The incident occurred at around 1.30pm at Glencolumbkille near Carron where the Clare Stages Rally was being run. The event was immediately halted while emergency services were alerted and responded to the scene.
National Ambulance Service paramedics responded to the incident while the Emergency Aeromedical Service air ambulance, Aeromed-01, based in Cork and operated by the HSE, was also requested to attend.
In the meantime, the event’s own emergency response crews responded to the incident.
The victim, Damien Fleming, a native of Kilcummin, County Kerry, was pronounced dead at the scene. A second man was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
While the event was later halted, the road where the incident occurred has been closed and is not expected to reopen until tomorrow after Garda Forensic Collision Investigators have completed an examination of the scene
The organisers of the event issued a statement following the incident.
The statement read: “Clare Motor Club can confirm that an incident occurred today on Stage 4 of the Clare Stages Rally. The relevant authorities were immediately advised of the incident and emergency services are in attendance at the scene. The event has been halted and a further statement will be issued in due course.”
A Garda spokesperson confirmed: “Gardaí and emergency services attended the scene of a fatal collision involving two vehicles, that occurred earlier this afternoon Sunday, 24th September 2023 at approximately 1:30pm.
A male passenger of one vehicle, a male in his 30’s, was fatally injured and pronounced deceased at scene. His body has been removed from the scene to University Hospital Limerick where a post mortem will take place in due course.
The male driver (age unknown) of the second vehicle was conveyed to University Hospital Limerick for treatment for injuries believed to be non-life-threatening. The second driver and passenger, both males were uninjured.
The road is currently closed and scene of the collision is preserved for examination by Garda Forensic Collision Investigators. Traffic diversions are in place.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Ennis Garda Station on 065 684 8100, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.”
In a statement, Motorsport Ireland, the National Governing Body for four-wheeled motorsport in Ireland, said: Motorsport Ireland extends its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of 37-year-old Damien Fleming, who was fatally injured during a tragic accident today while competing on the fourth stage of the 2023 Clare Stages Rally which was organised by Clare Motor Club.
“Mr Fleming, a native of Kilcummin, County Kerry, was a highly experience co-driver whom had competed in over 150 events since 2006. The driver of the car in which he was competing was uninjured. The driver of a second car involved in the incident was transferred to Limerick University Hospital where he is in a stable condition and his injuries are not believed to be life threatening.
“The thoughts of everyone at Motorsport Ireland and within the wider motorsport community are with the Fleming family, Clare Motor Club and the members of the motorsport community who were present at the scene who reacted so quickly and professionally to the incident.
“Motorsport Ireland will conduct a full investigation with the relevant authorities into today’s events to establish how this accident occurred.”