Spence dies aged 22
Ulster centre killed in slurry tragedy in Northern Ireland
Last Updated: 16/09/12 11:09am
Nevin Spence: Died in family farming tragedy in Northern IReland
Ulster centre Nevin Spence was killed along with his brother and their father in a farming tragedy in Northern Ireland on Saturday.
The 22-year-old former Ireland Under-20 international, whose sister was also injured in the accident, died after falling into a slurry tank.
Emergency crews went to the family farm in Drumlough Road outside Hillsborough, County 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.
Spence was a member of the Ulster squad that were Heineken Cup runners-up last season, although he did not play in the final, and had been tipped to go on and become a full Ireland international.
Rugby players and figures from the wider sporting community paid tribute to the player on social media as news emerged of his involvement in the tragedy.
Tributes appeared on Twitter feeds representing both the British and Irish Lions and the RaboDirect PRO12.
Spence dies in tragic accident
The Lions post read: "All our thoughts are with the family and friends of Ulster centre Nevin Spence, his father and brother. Reportedly died in accident."
The post on the PRO12 account read: "Shocked. We just read about Nevin Spence. RIP. There are no words."
Ian Humphreys, a team-mate of Spence's at Ulster, wrote: "Devastated to hear the news about Nevin Spence and his brother and dad. Prayers with all his family... RIP Nev, you'll never be forgotten..."
Former Ireland and Munster hooker Jerry Flannery added: "Terrible news on Nevin Spence, his Brother and their Dad. Offering up prayers for their family and friends, unbelievably sad."
Former Wales wing Shane Williams was also among those to pay their respects on the social media site.
He wrote: "My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Nevin Spence. A tragic loss. A class act on the field also. RIP."
Tributes also came from notable Northern Irish sportsmen Rory McIlroy and Mark Allen.
"Just heard the tragic news of Nevin Spence and his family. Makes you cherish every day you have on this Earth," golf's world number one posted.
Snooker star Allen added: "What a loss for the family and for ulster and Irish rugby!! In shock here!!"