Northern Ireland

Portrush crash death is third fatality on NI roads within 48 hours

A 56-year-old man has died following a two-vehicle crash near Portrush in County Antrim.

The collision, involving a van and a tow truck, happened on the Ballybogey Road at 17:20 GMT on Saturday.

He is the third person to die on the roads in Northern Ireland over the weekend.

A teenage pedestrian and a man in his 20s were both fatally injured in separate collisions on Friday.

The man died after a crash in Larne, County Antrim, while the teenager died in hospital after he was hit by a car in Newtownstewart, County Tyrone.

Two other people were injured in the crash near Portrush.

One man was taken to hospital but his injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

A woman was treated by paramedics at the scene.

'Worrying'

Responding to the third road fatality within a 48-hour period, Environment Minister Alex Attwood described them as "terrible tragedies" and expressed his sympathy to the families and friends of those who lost their lives.

He said after years of falling road deaths, this year had seen a significant increase and the current trend was "very worrying".

"Our road deaths this year to date in Northern Ireland, are twice the same period as last year. This is also the case and more in the Republic," Mr Attwood said.

"It is one of the reasons why the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland and the Road Safety Authority in Ireland will launch a joint campaign in coming days and will urge people to be even more aware of road risks."

The minster added: "If we all used the roads more safely over the next eight months, we can turn this trend around and ensure fewer are suffering the pain of loss that many families this weekend are facing."

'Preventing deaths'

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said that to date this year, 21 people have died on the roads and many more have been seriously injured due to crashes across Northern Ireland.

"This compares to 10 fatalities up to the same point in 2012 and is a step back to 2011 levels," the PSNI statement said.

Superintendent Mark Purdon said: "All road users have a role to play in preventing deaths and injuries on our roads."

He urged drivers to "slow down, expect the unexpected, do not drive after drinking or taking drugs, always wear a seatbelt and give driving your full attention".

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