Police have confirmed that a nine-year-old schoolgirl – a pupil at Hardy Memorial Primary – died in a road traffic collision close to Armagh on Monday morning.
The child, Patrycja, was a rear seat Passenger in a Peugeot 407.
At the request of the family, police are not releasing the nine-year-old’s surname.
But officers are appealing for anyone who has any information to come forward.
Chief Inspector O’Connor said the collision occurred at around 9am.
“Tragically Patrycja, who was a student at Hardy Memorial Primary School in Richhill, died at the scene as a result of her injuries,” he said.
“The driver of the car, a man aged in his 60s, was taken to hospital for treatment to injuries which are not thought to be life threatening.
“The Hamiltonsbawn Road remains closed at this time as our enquiries into the collision continue.
“I would appeal to anyone who witnessed the collision or who may have web cam footage which could assist us with our enquiries to contact officers in Armagh on 101 quoting reference number 295 25/02/19.”
Ulster Unionist Alderman Jim Speers – chairman of the board of governors at Hardy Memorial Primary – expressed his sympathies to the family.
“This is a terrible tragedy for the young girl’s family,” he said.
“The pain they must be going through will be unimaginable.
“On behalf of the Board of Governors I want to express my deepest sympathies to the family and assure them that they are in our thoughts and prayers. Our thoughts are also with the man injured in this tragic incident.
“I have spoken to Hardy Memorial staff who are providing support to the pupils in her class and the wider school, who have all been deeply affected by what has happened.
“She was an extremely popular pupil with her classmates and teachers alike.
“It’s a lot for young children to take in and I must commend Hardy Memorial`s Principal, Mrs Anderson and her staff for the professional way in which they dealt with this tragic news.”
Newry and Armagh DUP MLA William Irwin described it as a “truly awful tragedy” and said his thoughts and prayers are with the family of the little girl who has passed away.
“Once again a family has been plunged in to grief and there is much shock and sadness throughout the wider community.
“My granddaughter was in the same class as the little girl at Hardy Memorial Primary School Richhill and I know many people in the community will be thinking and praying for the family involved.
“They will need much support and prayer in the days, weeks and months ahead. I just can’t comprehend that a young girl in her prime of life has been taken in this tragic accident. My thoughts are also with the driver of the vehicle who I understand is recovering after this accident.”
Alliance Armagh representative Jackie Coade expressed her condolences.
“I am shocked and deeply saddened by this tragedy, and my deepest condolences go out to the family and loved ones of this poor girl,” said Ms Coade.
“I can only imagine the pain the family are experiencing at this time. Everyone in the community will be shocked by this news, particularly given it is such a young girl that has passed away following the crash. I hope the driver and any other passengers in the car have a swift recovery as well.
“As a teacher myself, my thoughts are also with the girl’s teacher, her classmates and the wider school community, who will be heartbroken on hearing this news. I hope they are receiving the care they need too after this tragedy.”