An elderly farmer has died while trying to free a trapped bull in Co Westmeath.

The Health and Safety Authority is investigating the incident which occurred at Newtown, The Downs in Mullingar at 9.40pm last night.

It is understood the 79-year-old man had been attempting to remove the animal from a ditch when he fell.

Gardaí said the weight of the bull kept him under water and they are treating it as a tragic accident.

A post-mortem examination is due to take place in the Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore.