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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 20 January, 2020

Storm Ophelia's first responders: 'When I heard the name of the casualty, I realised it was my first cousin'

Michael Pyke died in Tipperary on Monday.

Paddy Pyke - first cousin of Storm Ophelia victim Michael Pyke.
Paddy Pyke - first cousin of Storm Ophelia victim Michael Pyke.
Image: RTÉ

A FIREFIGHTER WHO was called to the scene of a fatal accident during Storm Ophelia has told of the moment he realised that it was his first cousin he was rushing to save.

Speaking on the Late Late Show last night, Paddy Pyke described the moment he got the call about an incident which left his 31-year-old first cousin Michael dead.

Michael Pyke died after being struck by the falling limb of a tree in Cahir in the Munster county at about 12.30pm last Monday at the height of the storm. He was attempting to cut down unstable branches from a large tree when the limb of the tree fell on him.

His cousin Paddy, a sub-officer at Clonmel Fire Station, said: “It would be abnormal for me to be there. The only reason I had gone was because the decision was taken that nobody travel on their own.

“So I was driving but on arrival at the scene when I heard the name of the casualty, I realised it was a first cousin of mine.

Michael would have been the youngest of a large family but very close family. Being the youngest, he was always mammy’s white-haired boy.
He grew up to be a large man- 6ft 2in and well-built, a gentle giant. Michael wouldn’t need to know your name, he’d help you.

“On the day he was trying to help out when he got struck by the limb of a tree that fell.”

Three people died in three different counties as a result of the storm, which spent all of Monday battering the country as a whole.

Read: Storm Brian is now over Dublin, Wicklow and Meath >

Read: Locals fear damage that Storm Brian may do to eroding blue-flag beach >

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