Northern Ireland

Ballymena work accident: man critically ill

An investigation is under way after a man was injured in an industrial accident in Ballymena, County Antrim.

It is understood a piece of machinery fell on the man as it was being serviced. The accident happened around 1000 BST on Monday at the JTI plant in the town.

The man remains critically ill in hospital.

The JTI plant was formerly known as the Gallaher cigarette factory.

District journalist Nicola Weir said: "I'm being told that the man was part of a team that was servicing a robotic arm used at the JTI plant.

"It appears that during the servicing this arm fell onto the man and trapped him on scaffolding.

"The police and emergency services were immediately called."

She said the Health and Safety Executive was investigating what happened

"They were at the plant on Monday trying to work out the chain of events leading to this terrible accident.

"They haven't commented on it so far, only to confirm that they are investigating."

The man was taken to Antrim Area Hospital but later transferred to the Ulster Hospital in Belfast.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Health and Safety Executive confirmed that an investigation had begun.

"The circumstances surrounding this particular incident are under investigation and HSENI is unable to comment further at this time," the statement said.

The JTI plant is a major employer in the town.

Around 2,000 people work at the plant producing cigarettes and cigars.

Gallahers was taken over in 2007 by the Japanese firm JTI.

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