Shock at tragic death of construction worker

June 5, 2017

Colleagues of the construction worker who died near Mullaghbawn on Wednesday, battled to save him after he was crushed by heavy machinery, The Examiner understands.

Tomasz Pogoda (37) died in an accident involving a road roller while carrying out resurfacing work on the Bog Road on the outskirts of the village.

Distressed coworkers rushed to a nearby house to raise the alarm and summon emergency services when the fatality occurred shortly before noon.

Mr Pogoda, a native of Poland, was married with two young children and lived in Magherafelt, Co. Derry where he was employed by a local engineering firm.

All three emergency services attended the scene, along with officials from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and PSNI officers.  An investigation into the tragedy is underway, the HSE said.

Local councillor Mickey Larkin visited the scene and spoke to some of the deceased colleagues who he said are devastated at the loss of their close friend whom they had worked alongside for several years.

Conveying the shock felt by nearby residents, Councillor Larkin said: “As I arrived on site I spoke to the residents, the police and the victim’s colleagues.  The workers were devastated by the loss of a friend who had been with them a number of years.  They remained there until late in the evening not wishing to leave him. It was a heart breaking scene.”

Describing the experience as “harrowing”, he commended the emergency services for their “diligence and professionalism”, adding: “The community in Mullaghbawn have been shocked by this accident and I extend my utmost and heartfelt gratitude for opening their doors to provide comfort and support, both to this man’s colleagues, and to the emergency services.

“I have been in contact with his home community in South Derry to assure them that the residents of Mullaghbawn hold them in their thoughts and to reassure them that we remained at the Bog Road until their friend, neighbour and loved one was recovered.”

The SDLP’s Justin McNulty extended his sympathy and said the accident was “such a tragedy, a young man going about his day’s work and to die in such a tragic way.

“My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and family back home in Poland. My thoughts are also with his work colleagues and those from the local community and the emergency services who attended the scene.”

Ulster Unionist Councillor David Taylor also expressed condolence.  Offering deepest sympathy to the victim’s family, he said: “I am very sorry to hear of the tragic circumstances surrounding this incident and my thoughts and prayers are with the gentleman’s family at this extremely difficult time.”

Police have issued an appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time and witnessed the incident to contact them in Ardmore Police Station on 101.