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road tragedy Eyewitness describes the 'horrific' scene of M6 crash that killed four people including a baby

It is understood a motorist driving a small car drove against oncoming traffic for roughly 2km.

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The scene of the fatal crash where an infant was among the four killed in a horror three-vehicle collision near Ballinasloe, Co Galway. Photo: Ray Ryan

The scene of the fatal crash where an infant was among the four killed in a horror three-vehicle collision near Ballinasloe, Co Galway. Photo: Ray Ryan

The scene of the fatal crash where an infant was among the four killed in a horror three-vehicle collision near Ballinasloe, Co Galway. Photo: Ray Ryan

An eyewitness has described the horrific aftermath of a multi-vehicle collision in Galway in which a baby was among four people killed.

In desperate scenes, passing motorists battled to save a woman they managed to free from the wreckage of one car.

A young family-of-three was killed instantly in the crash when the car in which they were travelling struck another in the head-on collision.

The tragedy occurred at 7.40pm on Thursday, on western bound lane of the M6 motorway near Ballinasloe.

All four people were pronounced dead at the scene and their bodies were removed to Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, for post-mortem.

It is believed all four who lost their lives were foreign nationals, although the infant was born in Ireland. The baby is understood to be less than one year old.

Gardaí investigating the tragedy are probing whether the driver of one of the vehicles intentionally drove the wrong way down the motorway.

The source said investigating gardaí were “looking at all possibilities” in relation to the cause of the crash.

A female motorist from Galway miraculously escaped serious injury in the incident, after her car was “clipped” by the oncoming vehicle before the head-on-collision.

It is understood a motorist driving a small car – whose identity and gender have yet to be confirmed – drove against oncoming traffic for roughly 2km before colliding with a black Jeep or Land Rover style car and spinning out of control down an embankment, before bursting into flames.

Onlookers reported seeing large plumes of smoke.

A woman who witnessed the incident described horrific scenes where passing motorists, including a student nurse in NUIG, ran from cars and battled to save the life of the woman they managed to pull from the wreckage before emergency services arrived.

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Scene of road tragedy on M6

Scene of road tragedy on M6

Scene of road tragedy on M6


A bus travelling from Dublin to Galway also arrived on the scene within minutes and two male passengers rushed to help.

“Two men did manage to get a girl from the car,” she said.

“A student nurse in University Hospital Galway did CPR, and she kept doing it, but it was too late, I believe.

“You couldn’t do anything for them. It was over.

“At first, I thought we were lucky to be so near Portiuncula, and they would be treated soon, but it didn’t matter in the end.

“It was the car behind me that was hit first, and then the car behind that got the major impact.

“The car behind me was damaged, but she was fine, miraculously. It was like the oncoming car just clipped her.”

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The M6 was closed to traffic in both directions at junction 14 and junction 15 due to the crash. Photo: Hany Marzouk

The M6 was closed to traffic in both directions at junction 14 and junction 15 due to the crash. Photo: Hany Marzouk

The M6 was closed to traffic in both directions at junction 14 and junction 15 due to the crash. Photo: Hany Marzouk


The eyewitness describes the motorist then hitting the next car travelling on the left-hand lane – believed to be the family vehicle – with a huge impact.

While the gender of the driver has not been confirmed, the woman believes it was a man.

“We were all in the left lane, the slow lane and the guy in front of me said definitely a car came against us.

“I thought he came over the wall; he came so fast. It was like he came out of nowhere.

“Everyone was doing their best, but there was almost nothing that could be done.”

A woman who lives close to the scene heard the collision and described the aftermath as “horrific”.

“It was very scary. At about 7.30 pm, we were outside, and we just heard a bang and the next thing we heard, ambulances.

“After the initial bang, we didn’t really pass any remarks because there are farms around here. So I went over the road when I heard all the sirens.

“Then there was fire brigades and ambulances. You could see fire and loads of smoke. It’s horrific.”

Another local woman said: “I was on the phone with a friend and my husband was in another room in the house, and he came into me and said the sirens are going mad.

“We often hear sirens because we live near the hospital.

“But this went on for longer than usual. It was repeated sirens. So I figured it was something serious.

“It’s just awful. I can’t even imagine the horror of it.”

Roscommon Senator Eugene Murphy said the whole community of Ballinasloe was in a state of disbelief at the scale of the tragedy.

“It has been an awful week on our roads.

“I know the area where it happened very well, and I, like everybody else, am in total disbelief at what has happened.

“My thoughts are with the relatives of those who have died; they must be going through a terrible crisis today.

“The whole town of Ballinasloe is in complete shock. It’s a terrible tragedy.”

The crash marks a dark 24-hour period on Irish roads as six people died in two separate collisions.

Football coach Dave Conroy and another man were killed on Wednesday following an accident in Co Meath.

The three-vehicle collision happened on the R152 at Keenogue, Duleek about 6.40am.

Mr Conroy, who was well-known in the area, has been hailed as being an “inspiration” to young footballers as he was the director of football for Laytown United FC.

On Monday, Canadian medical student Nelia Scheeres (24) was killed in a collision between Tralee and Listowel in Kerry.

Ms Scheeres, originally from Barrie, a city in Ontario, was driving home from her first day’s work on her GP placement at a practice in Lixnaw.

Gardaí are now appealing to any road users who may have camera footage and were travelling on the M6 at Poolboy, Ballinasloe, at the time to make this footage available.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Garda Confidential Line or any garda station.

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