Rugby star killed in slurry tragedy

Banbury Cake: Three men died after they fell into a slurry tank Three men died after they fell into a slurry tank

A young rugby star has been killed alongside his brother and their father in a farming tragedy which also injured their sister in Northern Ireland.

Nevin Spence, 22, rose to prominence playing for Ulster Rugby and was a rising star in Ireland's international rugby scene but died after falling into a slurry tank.

Emergency crews went to the family farm in Drumlough Road outside Hillsborough, Co Down, shortly after 6pm on Saturday following reports that four people had fallen into the slurry pit. Following a lengthy rescue operation it was confirmed that three men had died and a woman was taken to hospital for treatment for the inhalation of fumes.

Rugby players and fans paid tribute to the young player on social media as news emerged of his involvement in the tragedy.

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson said on Twitter: "Deeply saddened to hear of the tragedy in Hillsborough this evening. My thoughts and prayers are with family at this time of devastation."

Nevin Spence was a member of the Ulster Rugby squad that reached the European Heineken cup final last season, and he was predicted to have a glittering international career ahead of him.

Tributes have poured in from across the rugby world and beyond for Mr Spence and his family.

His former Ulster team-mate Ian Humphreys said on Twitter: "Devastated to hear the news about Nevin Spence and his brother and dad. Prayers with all his family... RIP Nev, you'll never be forgotten..."

Former Ireland and Munster hooker Jerry Flannery tweeted: "Terrible news on Nevin Spence, his Brother and their Dad. Offering up prayers for their family and friends, unbelievably sad."

Northern Ireland golfer Rory McIlroy also tweeted his condolences, saying: "Just heard the tragic news of Nevin Spence and his family. Makes you cherish every day you have on this Earth".

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