Page last updated at 19:14 GMT, Sunday, 8 January 2006

Sunday morning scene of tragedy

Police officers examine the fatal crash scene near Abergele
Police officers begin the difficult job of investigating the tragedy

A mangled mess of broken metal frames, bent wheels and a battered car told the story of the horrendous accident which killed four cycling club members.

On an open stretch of north Wales road, down a gentle gully and with only a slight bend, forensic officers picked their way through a scene of horror.

Open farmland on either side and clear views of the countryside made it a perfect place for a morning cycle ride.

But families living only yards away described it as an accident blackspot.

Until Sunday morning there had been dozens of accidents but no fatalities, according to people living in the nearby converted church and farmhouse.

I've got a cold, otherwise I would have been out there today and I could have been killed
Scott Eccles, Rhyl Cycling Club
This weekend, they heard cars skidding past on the ice frozen from the previous night's rain.

Shortly after 1000 GMT, a blue Toyota Corolla was heading down the hill at St George, near Abergele.

According to police, its back wheels slipped out as a group of 12 from Rhyl Cycling Club was coming in the other direction.

The car crashed through them, into the stone wall at the side of the road, before careering back on to the left-hand carriageway.

It knocked at least two cyclists clear over the wall. As police closed the road and began their investigation two blankets covered their bodies many metres inside the field on the other side.

Police officers examine bicycle crash scene near Abergele
The 12 Rhyl Cycling Club members were on a 60-mile ride
The dead were named as the son of the club's press secretary, Thomas Harland, 14, club chairman Maurice Broadbent, 61; committee member Dave Horrocks, 55, and Wayne Wilkes, 42.

Club secretary Scott Eccles said he had been "in shock" since hearing of the disaster.

"It was just a training ride," said Mr Eccles. "I've got a cold, otherwise I would have been out there today and I could have been killed."

It's a massive accident blackspot. There have been many, many accidents here before, but no fatalities
Neighbour Terry Luckman
A couple who live near the scene described what they saw.

Sue Luckman, 48, a hospital administrator, said: "It was carnage, it was awful, absolutely awful."

She said the casualties were lying in the road.

"I knew they had gone. Straight after that all the emergency services arrived and a helicopter came.

"A young couple tried to stop the traffic. Somebody came up from the scene asking for blankets."

Mrs Luckman and her husband Terry, 60, a retired transport manager, have lived in their converted farmhouse on the A547 for 24 years. They described the road outside as an "accident blackspot".

Mr Luckman said: "This house has been a casualty station.

"It's a massive accident blackspot. There have been many, many accidents here before, but no fatalities."

The couple said they had heard cars skidding past their house since early in the morning.

"There was an accident here at nine o'clock this morning," said Mrs Luckman.

"It rained here last night. It rained hard and it froze immediately afterwards."



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