Tractor driver killed in plunge ‘trapped for hours’

Police officer in leak probe. Picture: Julie Bull
Police officer in leak probe. Picture: Julie Bull
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A TRACTOR driver who died after his machine plunged nearly 100 feet into a ravine may have lain trapped in the cab for hours.

The accident was discovered after Alistair Irving, from Leswalt, near Stranraer, failed to return home early on Saturday morning.

He had been night-ploughing on High Drummore Farm in the Rhins of Galloway, south of Stranraer.

Mr Irving, 37, a mechanic by trade, had been helping on the farm as farmers try and catch up on the backlog of work caused by the heavy snow three weeks ago. Residents said the snow in the area was the worst in living memory.

Mr Irving had been ploughing overnight when the accident happened.

It is thought either the ground gave way or the tractor slipped over the edge and plunged nearly 100ft into a glen.

Mr Irving is originally from the Drummore area.

When his van was seen on Saturday morning and he had not returned, a search was mounted and the discovery was made.

The tractor and cab was badly damaged in the accident and it is believed that Mr Irving may have been trapped in the ­wreckage.

A local farmer said: “It’s a tragic accident but shows the dangers of working through the night. Many farmers are working late at night just now trying to catch up on the ploughing and planting of seed.

“The weather has been so bad that nearly everyone is so far behind. Mr Irving originally came from this area although he lived in Leswalt. His parents stay nearby and everyone is absolutely shocked by this accident.”

Another local said: “The accident happened at what we would call a glen. I would say it is about 100ft down. We’ve been told that the tractor was in an awful state when it was found.”

Police Scotland said a joint investigation into the accident is ongoing with the Health and Safety Executive.

A spokesman said: “Police at Stranraer are investigating the death of Mr Irving.

“It is believed that Mr Irving died during the course of his employment.

“We can confirm that the man’s family have been informed, but cannot comment further until fuller details of the incident have been established.

“A joint investigation involving Police and the Health and Safety Executive has been launched.”

The owners of the farm have a number of dairy and beef farms in the area.