Northern Ireland

Down Rally: Ryan Bradley, from Kilrea, dies after car plunges into reservoir

Down Rally
Image caption Emergency services attended the scene of the incident at Lough Island Reavy reservoir

A man who was competing in a rally driving event in County Down has died in an accident along the route.

Ryan Bradley, from Kilrea in County Londonderry, was killed at the Down Rally on Saturday.

His car crashed into a wall and ended up in Lough Island Reavy reservoir near Castlewellan.

His co-driver was taken to hospital, but he was not thought to be seriously injured. The event was subsequently cancelled.

The rally began just before 10:00 BST on Saturday from the centre of Castlewellan.

About 70 crews headed the short distance to the first test at Lough Island Reavy and were due to go to Katesbridge, before returning to Castlewellan Forest Park for service.

Image caption The car crashed into a wall and ended up in the reservoir

The accident happened as Mr Bradley was taking part in the first stage of the event at about 11:30 BST.

Police divers recovered Mr Bradley's body. He was in his 20s and a member of Magherafelt and District Motor Club.

The club chairperson James McKeefry, who was competing at Saturday's event, said the club has been left devastated.

He confirmed that Mr Bradley had been driving the car.

"Ryan was not only a club member but a real friend to us all," he said.

"I want to take this opportunity to offer our sincere condolences to Ryan's family and his friends.

"We will try to help each other through it."

The organisers of Down Rally, Rathfriland Motor Club, later confirmed that a competitor had lost his life in the accident.

"The thoughts of Rathfriland Motor Club, and everyone involved with the event are with the family and friends of the deceased at this time," it said in a statement on its website.

"As with all incidents of this nature, an investigation is now being carried out by the PSNI and appropriate local authority.

"Rathfriland Motor Club together with the sport's governing body, the Motor Sports Association (MSA), are co-operating fully with the investigation."

After the accident, the remainder of the rally was cancelled.

"The incident on stage one is still being investigated," it said.