Northern Ireland

Irish Open: Boy impaled on metal rod at car park

Ryan Patez Image copyright Mark Jamieson
Image caption It is understood 11-year-old Ryan Patev fell backwards off a wall onto the metal rod

The mother of a boy who was impaled on a metal rod is seeking legal advice after what she called a "totally preventable" injury.

The metal rods were used by Causeway Coast and Glens council to mark out a makeshift car-park for the Irish Open golf championship in Portstewart.

Ryan Patev, 11, was playing with his younger brothers on Wednesday when he fell on the rod.

It punctured 4in (10cm) into his right thigh, just 2cm from a major artery.

It is understood that he fell backwards off a wall onto the rod.

'Ryan could have died'

Natalie Patev said her son had a lucky escape - despite now being off his feet and not allowed to go outside.

"Ryan could have died - it doesn't bear thinking about," she told BBC News NI.

Image copyright Mark Jamieson
Image caption Ms Patev said the rods were not capped, and the car park had been constructed in a 'slap-dash' fashion

"He is upset and really sore, he can't walk on it or anything and has to stay inside."

Ms Patev said the rods were not "capped" and the car park had been constructed in a "slap-dash" fashion with "no thought put into the children's safety".

"They were there for the golf - it was a parking area they had made... like an overspill," she said.

'I saw the pole sticking out'

Recovering after his ordeal, Ryan Patev described the moment he was injured.

Image copyright Mark Jamieson
Image caption Natalie Patev and her son Ryan

"I just saw the the pole sticking out at the side of my leg," he told BBC Newsline.

"Luckily, my other leg was supporting it so it didn't go down any further.

"My friend, Tommy, pulled the iron rod out of the ground so I could lie on the ground."

Ryan Patev said those responsible for the rods should have put up warning signs.

"I didn't see it at first and I just don't want it to happen to anyone else."

A council official had visited the family's home and offered Ryan and his mother tickets to the tournament, but this was not what they wanted, Ms Patev told The Belfast Telegraph.

"(The official) apologised and said they have removed the iron rods from the grass," she told the newspaper.

The Health and Safety Executive said it was aware of the incident and was making inquiries.

In a statement, Causeway Coast and Glens Council confirmed that a council officer and a representative from the European Tour's car park operation visited Ryan Patev at home on Thursday.

A spokesperson for golf's European Tour said it was working with the council to carry out a full investigation into the incident.

"We were very sorry to hear of Ryan's unfortunate accident," said the spokesperson.

"A representative of the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, along with a member of our car parking team, visited Ryan and his family at home yesterday afternoon to offer support and check on his wellbeing, and we all wish him well in his recovery."