Neil McFerran and Aaron Davidson were both 18 year old boys from Newtownabbey, and great friends from the age of 3. They were celebrating the end of their A-levels and were having a relaxing summer waiting on their results. Along with their friend Matthew Gaw, they decided to take a break to Castlerock, staying in a relative’s apartment.
On 3 August 2010, their last day together, the 3 boys woke early to walk along the coast to watch the sun rise. They later went back to the apartment to get some sleep.
Tragically, due to a fault in the gas heating, the boys were overcome with carbon monoxide fumes and both Neil and Aaron lost their lives. Matthew did regain consciousness, but was extremely dazed and confused. He tried to wake his friends but was unable to. He tried to speak to his Dad on the phone but was incoherent.
Neil and Aaron’s parents raced to Castlerock, smashing into the apartment. Horrifically, they found that their sons had already passed away and Matthew was rushed to hospital.
Later, due to investigations, it was to be revealed that the deadly gas leaked into the holiday apartment when the flue pipe came apart in the roof space due to negligent workmanship. Had the flue pipe been fixed to a joist with four self-tapping screws, the boys deaths would have been avoided. The boiler had also not been properly converted from natural gas to LPG. When investigations from the Health and Safety Executive went to the apartment and fired the boiler, the machines used to test carbon monoxide levels ‘went off the scale’.
Louis Burns from the Health and Safety Executive said the investigation had been one of the biggest and most complex of its kind ever carried out here.
“The tragic and untimely deaths of Neil and Aaron from carbon monoxide poisoning serve as a potent reminder of the dangers this deadly gas poses,” he said.