Second man involved in sewer accident sadly passes away

NewsBy Shuki Byrne
Sad: Steve Harris
Sad: Steve Harris

The man left fighting for his life following an industrial accident which claimed the life of his brother has sadly passed away.

Alan Harris, a father of two, was overcome by fumes - believed to be methane gas - when he began inspecting underground pipes in a housing estate in the Portmarnock area of north Dublin on Wednesday afternoon. 

His brother Stephen was on the job with him and was knocked unconscious by the noxious gases but was rescued by fire crews at the scene. 

He was rushed to Beaumont Hospital following the accident where he was said to be in critical condition.

However, he was sadly pronounced dead this morning.  

Alan Harris was pronounced dead at the scene on Wednesday after paramedics worked on him at the scene. 

Both men, who were in their 40s and ran a business called Draintech, were assessing pipes under the road, some of which were reported to be 20 feet below the surface, when the accident occurred. 

Two investigations are ongoing into the death, one by the garda and the other by the Health and Safety Authority.

Questions centre on whether the men were overcome by methane gas in a confined space as they began initial assessments of the work to be done on the sewers.

The inquiries will also look into what breathing apparatus was available to the men.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill said Robbie Keane, who is cousins with the men, was feeling "quite down" following the second tragedy.

"Obviously very bad news this morning as well too so he's not great, I must admit," he said.

"Obviously we feel for the family. He's quite down at the moment."

O'Neill said he hoped the striker would be emotionally fit to take some part in the Scotland match.

"I'm hoping that he'll come round and that if he feels that he wants to participate in the game tomorrow it's entirely his decision," he said.

Ireland and Sunderland defender John O'Shea said Keane's teammates were offering him support.

"It's one of those things as the manager said it's very sad news and I'd echo the sentiments of the manager, our thoughts are with the family," the defender said.

"There's obviously good morale around him. We'll look after Robbie.

"But hopefully as I said if he needs whatever support we'll be there for him.

"He's a very good professional but obviously sometimes football does take a back step when something like this happens."

The pair were speaking at a press conference ahead of the weekend clash.

A number of people posted messages of sympathy to the footballer.

Alan's grieving widow Tracy Glynn Harris also posted on the social media website that she had lost her "best friend and soulmate".

"My heart has been shattered into a million places yet again," she wrote. "Thank you all for the kind words."