Tyrone farmer speaks of ‘miraculous’ escape from raging bull

Farmer Tony Conway pictured in his field with the Charolais bull behind the electric fence. DR07
Farmer Tony Conway pictured in his field with the Charolais bull behind the electric fence. DR07

A Tyrone farmer has spoken of his miraculous escape after being attacked by a raging bull.

Tony Conway said he thought he was “going to be killed” after being gored by the Charolais bull on his farm near Newtownstewart.

The attack took place last weekend and Mr Conway, 58, said he only cheated death by grabbing the ring on the bull’s nose before making good his escape.

Mr Conway told Farming Life, “I’m a very lucky man. I have a few wee grandchildren and at one stage I thought I was never going to see them again,” he said.

The horrific attack took place while Mr Conway was putting up an electric fence to keep his cattle herd back from the perimeter fence in the field.

Mr Conway recounts the dramatic chain of events after the bull, weighing approximately 1,000kgs, hit him on the chest with his head.

“He landed me on my backside,” he said. “He then gored at my backside and legs for a good ten yards before I mind anything else.

“He lifted my feet up in the air and I slid back down the sheep wire. He was goring away at me and I was wondering what am I going to do.

“I actually said to the bull ‘are you going to kill me?’ I knew I was beat, I couldn’t get up, it’s hard to say what time frame had elapsed at this stage.”

During the frenzied attack, and while still laying on the ground, the quick-thinking Mr Conway thought his only chance of survival was to try and grab the bull’s nose ring.

At the third attempt he got hold of it and with two fingers was able to hold the bull.

“By the time I got the hold of it I was clean exhausted. I lay there for a while until I got some breath back in my body. I went to get up but the bull tossed me again.

“I got up again but couldn’t get over the fence at that particular point.

“So I led the bull by the ring back up four or five posts to the strainer (corner post) and climbed over the wire still holding onto the ring. I then let him go.”

At this point Mr Conway, despite being exhausted and badly blooded, managed to get himself onto a quad bike and head for his farmhouse. He was immediately taken by ambulance to Altnagelvin Hospital where X-rays revealed he had no broken bones.

He has however sustained severe bruising and swelling on his legs and side and is currently using crutches to get around.

The Newtown farmer is however still counting his lucky stars.

“I have lived to tell the tale, so I’m alright.

“It could have been a lot worse, at one stage I was done. I never found any pain until I got back to the house. I suppose the adrenaline was flying.

“It just shows you what can happen by dropping your guard for a few seconds. If I hadn’t got hold of the ring, God knows what would have happened.”

The attack is a timely reminder of the dangers of working with livestock. In the past year nine people have been killed in accidents on Northern Ireland farms.