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.
Lives have been lost in the past in accidents at other farm slurry tanks, but the scale of the latest tragedy caused widespread shock.
The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said it responded to a 999 call at about 6.15pm following reports that at least three people had fallen into a slurry tank. It said it immediately sent three rapid response paramedics, four accident and emergency vehicles and an ambulance service doctor to the scene.
The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service also attended and rescued four people from the slurry pit.
The Ulster Farmers' Union said the tragedy had shocked the entire farming community. UFU president Harry Sinclair said; "This news has shocked the farming community. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the three men who have so tragically lost their lives. We understand that a fourth member of the family has been hospitalised and we pray that they will make a full recovery."