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Cyprus

Call to retire old cabinless tractors after teen death

File photo

The Green Party-Citizens Cooperation on Thursday called for the obligatory use of safety cabins on all tractors to avoid the loss of lives, as was the case of a 15-year-old boy from Droushia in Paphos who was killed after the tractor he was driving overturned and crushed him on Wednesday.

The accident occurred on the Inia-Pittokopou road when the teenager lost control of the vehicle which tipped over, crushing him. He died instantly, police said. They are investigating the possibility that the teenager had been trying to make way for an oncoming car on the narrow road when he drove the tractor onto the shoulder of the road, causing it to tip over.

The tractor did not have a safety cabin fitted.

According to the Paphos district’s labour inspection department that went on site to investigate, “it was purely a traffic accident,” the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) reported.

A grant programme for upgrading equipment of tractors would prevent the loss of lives, the labour department said.

This is the second such accident occurring in Paphos in 2016. In April, a 64-year-old man from Giolou lost his life after becoming trapped under his overturned tractor while working in a field.

“Each year several people lose their lives or are heavily injured due to overturned tractors,” the Greens said in an announcement.

Modern tractor models are fitted with such cabins, the party said, but there is a large number of older tractors that do not have one.

The party said it had submitted a proposal back in 2003 for the retraction of old tractors, or to have them fitted with safety cabins.

“The proposal was brought before the government and the House several times, without any response so far,” the Greens said. “We call on the government to finally give an end to this issue and consider the cost of human lives”.

AKEL MP Andreas Fakontis told state broadcaster CyBC that the issue has been discussed several times at the House agriculture committee, and that there are no technical provisions to allow the fitting of safety cabins on older tractor models.

He proposed a scheme for the withdrawal of older tractors, probably utilising EU funds, and their replacement with new ones.

The teenager’s father and a 73-year-old relative, an uncle of the father and owner of the tractor, were arrested over the circumstances under which the boy was allowed to drive the tractor. Police said they are also assessing other testimonies.

Paphos traffic police chief Zenos Psathitis, told the CNA that allowing a minor driving a tractor was an offence.

The 73-year-old relative told police he loaned the tractor to the teenager’s father a week ago to use for farm work. The minor, who was the third of the family’s four children, drove the tractor frequently from the village to his parents’ farm near Fasli village, hauling a mobile water tank in order to carry water to the animals.

The Droushia community leader, Stelios Koupparis, said that Andreas was “always careful”. He added that the teenager was “an innocent child, cheerful, and dear to everyone”.

Andreas’ funeral took place on Thursday afternoon in Droushia.

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