On a summer’s evening 10 years ago, a Sligo farmer found himself impaled in a tree and left to die after the front loader of a teleporter hit him from behind while he was tending to cattle and mending fences on the farm he was managing in Co. Meath.

But Aengus Mannion lived to tell the tale, as they say, and while it took him years to recover – he had to learn to walk again – he has emerged stronger and more appreciate of his life now.

It wasn’t easy and he had “some dark times” but mostly Mannion’s life is good – he speaks regularly about his experience as much as he can in an effort to help others who have been involved in farm accidents.

He says he is living proof that there is life after a farm accident and that hope and determination are very important factors in the aftermath.

A new path

Meanwhile, Mannion was well experienced in farming – his father and grandfather had always been involved in cattle.

He was running the family farm back in Sligo when, in 2003, an opportunity arose for him to run an estate farm in Co. Meath.

At the time he was also in the meat game and working with Tesco, but he applied for the job and within two weeks received that all important phone call informing him that his application was successful.

He was subsequently offered the position of farm manager and within a month had taken up the role.

“It was a lovely place – 300-400ac of prime land and we started running a store-to-beef producing farm,” he continued.

“The owners were willing to invest in the farm and it was envisaged that the enterprise would become a showcase of Irish agriculture and attract interested parties from all over the world.”

‘A wonderful opportunity’

Mannion also highlighted how he and the property owners worked hard over the following years to bring the farm up to a high standard.

In fact, shortly before the accident Mannion received a An Bord Bia Quality Farm award for his efforts.

He says he enjoyed doing what he was doing and the experience had provided him with “a wonderful opportunity” having come from a smaller set-up in the west of Ireland.

However, one evening in the month of May of 2009, the unexpected happened and Mannion’s life was changed forever.

Cattle were out on an outer farm and Mannion decided to go up and look at the fences and check on things up there.

It was a good evening and what better could I be at then fixing things up and mending the fences.

He recalled: “I decided that I would take a teleporter with me; I put some tools and bits and pieces in the front of it and off I went.

“As I was approaching the area I noticed an opening in a gap and it was obvious that the fence was gone…

“So, I headed for that and as I approached the cattle were coming towards me at the same time, so I stopped the teleporter, jumped down, pushed the cattle away and off they went in the other direction.”

The end is nigh

But unbeknownst to the farm manager the teleporter had started rolling behind him.

And before he could even realise what was happening Mannion was struck by the vehicle.

Mannion ended up impaled in a tree with the front loader slicing through the lower half of his body; he went into shock – then panic set in; he was also bleeding heavily.

Mannion also pointed to how he couldn’t feel his legs and thought “my legs are gone”.

He says he remembers roaring and screaming with the pain; an elderly neighbour heard the screams and immediately rang her son who arrived to his aid sometime later.

However, by the time help arrived, Mannion had begun drifting in and out of consciousness.

He said he also believed that his time was up – at that point.

I remember looking around me and thinking I’m not going to get out of this one.

He added: “It was a lovely evening; the cattle were out and I remember saying to myself – sure, if this is it, it’s not a bad place to go.”

Meanwhile, Mannion had been impaled in the tree with the front loader slicing into him for nearly an hour and a half before help arrived.

But he survived and, after a long recovery, he is now fit to tell the tale…