Two tourists killed in freak pony-and-trap accident at Gap of Dunloe
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Two tourists killed in freak pony-and-trap accident at Gap of Dunloe

TWO tourists from the United States have been killed in a freak pony-and-trap accident in Co. Kerry.

The incident occurred at around 3pm this afternoon at the Gap of Dunloe – one of Ireland's most popular visitor attractions.

The identities of the two deceased have not been confirmed, but it is understood they are a male and female in their 50s or 60s who were visiting from the US.

It's believed that the horse pulling their jaunting car may have bolted suddenly, causing the accident.

The horse-drawn vehicle struck a bridge and overturned – catapulting its occupants some eight metres down onto rocks in a stream below the road.

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Both the man and the woman were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the trap was unharmed.

No other vehicles are thought to have been involved.

The road at Kate Kearney’s Cottage has been closed and emergency services are currently at the scene.

A forensic road crash investigation is due to take place later.

The Gap of Dunloe is a narrow mountain pass forged between the MacGillycuddy Reeks and Purple Mountain.

The area is popular with overseas visitors, who often take traditional guided tours along the 11km (7-mile) route on horse-drawn pony-and-traps.

Almost a year ago in May 2017, US tourist Janet Theiler died in a cycling accident while sightseeing at the Gap of Dunloe.

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Her heartbroken husband Don Theiler later wrote an open letter – 'A Tribute to the People of Killarney' – thanking locals for their generosity and help in the wake of his wife's death.

Gardaí are appealing for anyone who was in the area at the time of this afternoon's accident to contact them.