Kevin McGarry, Strokestown, Co. Roscommon was 18-years-old went he secured a dairy position in New Zealand.
He was working long hours on a dairy enterprise, milking cows at 4:30am- 5:00 am and not finishing until 7:30pm or 8pm.
In this video – produced by the HSA – he explains how his life changed forever one morning in August 2007.
“We had two herds of cows that were both let out of the yard at the same time and were then mixed.”
“They should have been kept separate so we had to bring all 800 cows into the yard and separate them after milking.”
He was up working at 3:30 am again the next morning and had not eaten for 15-20-hours.
“I was heading down for the cows when the bike slid out into the electric fence, 14,000 volts.”
A spark from the fence caught with the overflow from the petrol tank, causing a fire.
“I was there under the bike for about 45-minutes; that feeling of the exhaust burning my leg was the main thing I remember.” Kevin said.
Kevin’s boss – who trained as a paramedic – extinguished the fire and contacted the emergency services; the ambulance arrived and was airlifted to hospital.
After the accident
Kevin was put in an induced coma for four-weeks with burns covering 45% of his body.
He eventually had to have both of his legs amputated and was fitted with two prosthetic legs.
He returned to Ireland at the end of 2010 and the following year, he enrolled in University College Dublin’s Dairy Business degree.
He also purchased a farm in Strokestown and aims to make the enterprise as efficient as possible.
“I can never rush again now; every job I do now, takes three-times as long.” Kevin concluded.
Kevin's message is clear, tiredness caused his accident. Long hours, not eating or sleeping meant he lost concentration and lost control on the bike.
Image source: HSA