Four killed in training tragedy
Monday, January 9, 2006 12.00am
Four members of a Welsh cycling club have been killed after being hit by a car that skidded on an ic
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM
Four members of a Welsh cycling club have been killed after a driver lost control of his car on an icy road near Abergele and spun sideways through a group of 12 cyclists on a Sunday morning training ride. Thomas Harland, 14, Maurice Broadbent, 61, Dave Horrocks, 55, and Wayne Wilkes, 42, were declared dead at the scene, while seven other members of the 12-strong group, including Thomas Harland's father, Jon, were taken to hospital with a variety of injuries.
Police said a Toyota Corolla had skidded on ice on a bend on the A547 Rhuddlan Road, sending it across the road and into the cyclists riding in the opposite direction. The driver of the Toyota suffered minor injuries and was also taken to hospital to be treated for shock.
Although the weather was fine when the incident took place at 10am on Sunday morning, conditions had been freezing overnight. The local authorities said that the road had been gritted on Saturday evening. However, it had rained overnight and local people said it had frozen hard. It is believed that another accident took place on the same road about an hour earlier when a car slid out of control on the ice.
Chief Inspector Lyn Adams, from North Wales Police, said the driver appeared to have lost control on a gentle left-hand bend, striking a wall and rebounding into the road. He said: "The driver has lost control because of the ice on the road. There is no indication to suggest that this is down to something like excessive speed.
"Our best estimate at the moment is that the car was driving at something like 50 miles per hour. And on a road like this, that isn't excessive speed. There is nothing to suggest the driver did anything but lose control and on the face of it this seems to be a terrible accident."
According to Rhyl CC's website, the riders were on a 60-mile trip between Great Orme and Llanrwst. Mr Broadbent, from Rhuddlan, was the club's chairman, Mr Wilkes, from Rhyl, was a committee member and Thomas Harland, from Prestatyn, was the son of its press secretary. Mr Horrocks was from Abergele.
Scott Eccles, secretary of Rhyl CC, told the BBC: "There was a car coming the other way. There was a kink in the road and it was icy. The car lost control, went up the grass verge, and then it came across the road and into them. They were dead straight away."
He described the section of road, which is generally straight but has one area with sharp bends, as "dangerous".
Fourteen-year-old Thomas Harland, who took part in last year's UK national championships, was described by club members as having a greater future in the sport. Club founder Rae Hughes told the North Wales Daily Post: "Thomas had such great potential, absolutely fantastic potential. His father was coaching him and really looking after him, making sure he didn't go on rides beyond his capability."
Welsh Secretary Peter Hain has asked for a report on the incident from police and the local authority. "The thoughts of the people of Wales are with the families after this shocking accident. I will be asking the police and the local authorities for a report into how this tragedy happened," said Hain.
Apart from Mr Harland, who suffered a broken leg, the other survivors were four adult riders and three children who were left shocked but uninjured.
procycling would like to extend its sympathies to the families of the bereaved.
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