Tragic Ballymena bike crash victim named as other child remains in critical condition

The nine-year-old boy who lost his life in a tragic scrambler accident in Ballymena has been named locally as Charlie Joyce.

He died after an incident in the Dunclug area just before 5pm on Thursday.

A second boy aged 13 was taken to hospital and is in a critical condition.

It is understood the boys were the riders of the two bikes.

There have been hundreds of tributes to Charlie on social media.

Family members also paid tribute to the boy. He was described as a "little fighter" and a "beautiful boy".

Charlie Joyce.

The principal at St Brigid's Primary School in Ballymena told UTV Charlie was a very popular child and will be missed.

"This is a terrible tragedy, in the first instance, for Charlie's family. Also for us here at the St Brigid's school community," said Jim Brady.

He added: "Charlie was a great boy, lovely child, a lively wee boy with us since Primary One.

"He brought an infectious smile here everyday when he walked in through the door. He had a great bunch of friends, he was a very popular wee boy and he'd be at the centre of any action that was happening in the school."

SDLP councillor Eugene Reid said the community was left traumatised.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to the family, especially of the boy who has died but both families as under these tragic circumstances, to lose a child and have a child injured is just terrible under any circumstances, but under these circumstances I think it's even worse," he told UTV.

DUP MP Ian Paisley is to meet with the police over the incident.

"To the young people and families involved like everyone our thoughts are with them. They are foremost in our prayers," he said.

Tributes have been paid to Charlie Joyce. Credit: Press Eye

"I have today arranged to speak with the police about the matter. And will discuss some proposals about ensuring these circumstances can be avoided in the future."Once again we are indebted to the Air Ambulance and the emergency services who worked so professionally to get the children the medical assistance they needed."

Sinn Féin MLA Philip McGuigan also expressed his condolences.

The North Antrim MLA said, "The local community has been shocked and saddened at this tragic death. It is particularly devastating given the age of the young boy.

“My thoughts and sympathies are with his family, his young friends and his loved ones."

Friends of Charlie Joyce pay tribute.

In a statement, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said it responded to a 999 call at 4.47pm.

“NIAS dispatched three emergency crews and a doctor to the scene and also tasked the Charity Air Ambulance, with HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) crew on board, to the incident.

“Following assessment and initial treatment one child was flown by Air Ambulance to the Royal Group of Hospitals in Belfast while the other was taken to the same location by ambulance.”

Police say a full investigation is underway and anyone who witnessed the collision has been asked to contact detectives on the number 101.