An elderly farmer in his 70s has died while trying to free a trapped bull in County Westmeath.

The incident occurred at Newtown, The Downs in Mullingar at 9.40pm last night and the Health and Safety Authority is investigating. It is understood the 79-year-old man had been attempting to remove the animal from a ditch when he fell.

Gardaí said the weight of the bull kept him under water and are treating it as a tragic accident.