Gardaí have reported the death of two American tourists traveling through popular tourist attraction the Gap of Dunloe in Co. Kerry.
A popular Irish tourist destination was struck by tragedy on Monday afternoon with Irish police (Gardaí) reporting that two American tourists died while in the Gap of Dunloe in Co. Kerry.
The pair is believed to have died in an accident involving the pony and trap (jaunting car) they were traveling in, closing off the road at a bridge about two miles from the popular restaurant and pub Kate Kearney's.
The deceased is reported to be a man and a woman in their 50s or 60s who were tourists to Ireland from the U.S. The complete details of the accident are unclear but the Irish Independent reports that the horse was suddenly alarmed and bolted, driving the trap into a bridge and flipping it onto the parapet. The passengers are said to have fallen from the trap onto the rocks in the stream below.
It is not known how many were in the car at the time and the driver of the trap, a man in the 40s, is said to be unharmed. He was treated for extreme shock at the scene.
"We are all shocked and saddened by this most tragic accident,” said Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce President Paul O’Neill.
Gardaí in Killarney were notified of the incident at 1.15pm on Monday and the road was closed. No other vehicles were involved and the road is said to remain closed as Gardaí continue their work on the scene.
The Gap of Dunloe is a narrow mountain path popular with tourists to Ireland because of its scenic views around the county. It was forged between the MacGillycuddy Reeks and Purple Mountain and passes five lakes, including Auger Lake and Black Lough on its 11 km stretch. Tourists are often taken by locals along the pass by traveling in a lights form of carriage named a trap and pulled along by a horse.
The bodies of the victims were taken by hearse on Monday to Kerry General Hospital. A post-mortem will be carried out on Tuesday.
"It is deeply upsetting to hear the news of the tragic accident that has claimed the lives of two tourists on holiday in Kerry," said Minister of State for Tourism and Sports Brendan Griffin.
"Everyone in Kerry is truly shocked and saddened. I want to offer my sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims at this most distressing time."
More to follow.