St Patrick's Day horror as girl, 17, and two boys, 16 and 17, die after 'dozens of panicked youngsters stampede' outside youth disco - leaving some 'pinned to the ground for 20 minutes'

Three children were killed last night in a dangerous crush by the front door of a hotel hosting a St Patrick's Day youth disco in Northern Ireland.
Two boys aged 16 and 17 and a girl aged 17 died after a large crowd of young people are believed to have pushed up against the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, County Tyrone, causing dozens to fall to the ground on top of one another. 
Witnesses told of scenes of panic, with as many as 100 teens pushed off their feet and trapped in a press of bodies, as shocked onlookers attempted to resuscitate youngsters pulled out of the crush by emergency services. 
A 16-year-old girl is in a stable condition in hospital, while a further two teenagers were treated for injuries they suffered during the incident at about 9.30pm.
One teenager told the Ulster Herald he was pinned down with other youngsters on top of him, in a crush of almost 100 teens who had fallen to the floor, for about 20 minutes.  

He said: ‘It was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced, really frightening. I’m traumatised and after this I don’t know if I ever want to go out again.'
He explained that as the queue of teenagers were at the gate 'everyone just started swaying back and forth', and pushing side to side, and then there was a rush forward and the queue 'collapsed' with many people falling to the ground. 
‘There must have been 20 or 30 who fell first,' he said, 'and then everyone else just followed. I’d say there was more than 100 who were in that queue and fell.
‘I was pinned down with others on top of me. We must have been there on the ground for 20 minutes unable to move. It was absolutely terrible.
'I didn’t know what was going to happen or how I’d get out. Eventually I was pulled out and thankfully was able to walk away.
 ‘There were ambulances and police all around. I could see them giving one person CPR treatment’
Police Service of Northern Ireland Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, speaking from the scene, said: 'Our preliminary investigations show there was a crush towards the front door of this hotel, and in that crush people seem to have fallen.
'There seemed to be a little bit of struggling going on to get people up off the ground and that might explain also why there was a report of some fighting.'
He made a direct appeal for people with footage of the incident to hand it to police, rather than post it on social media.
In addition to the three teens confirmed to have died, a 16-year-old girl is in a stable condition in hospital, and a further two teenagers were treated for injuries they suffered during the incident.
ACC Hamilton added: 'We are of an open mind ... it looks like a crowd of young people, a large crowd, pushing up against the front of the hotel to get in to this event.
'People then seem to have fallen and then got crushed. I would urge you to use that with some caution. Certainly it appears to be at the minute a crush, people have fallen and then been fatally injured. 
He went on: 'We also have reports of some fighting after the incident commenced and at least one person has reported that they were assaulted.' 
But in confusing scenes, other witnesses denied there had been a 'crush' with the venue's DJ claiming a 'number of young people had become seriously ill'.
Emma Heatherington, 42, of Donaghmore, whose two sons, aged 17 and 18, had been at the event, told how she 'felt sick' when she saw the police appeal.
She said: 'My two boys were there so I rang them, shaking and thankfully got them both. They were on their way home at that stage.
'They say there was a huge crowd waiting to get into the venue and then a lot of commotion up near the front of the queue.
'Then they said the emergency services arrived and they were all asked to leave. They came home very, very shaken with rumours that some people had died.' 
She added: 'While it's not clear exactly what happened, it's the most tragic ending imaginable to what was supposed to be a celebration of St Patrick's Day.'
Meanwhile a source told Belfast Live: 'This is a desperate situation on what should have been a fantastic night. It will be memorable for all the wrong reasons now. 
'A lot of people had congregated outside the Greeenvale and there was a lot of carry on but suddenly all hell broke loose and there was a big panic.
'People were running all over the place. We were trying to get away. Someone was doing CPR on someone on the ground.'
Local councillor Trevor Wilson said he had been phoned from the scene by an eyewitness, telling the Belfast Telegraph: 'There seems to have been a stampede.' 
He added: 'There's clearly a deep sense of shock here tonight that an event for young people just wanting to celebrate St Patrick's night went so horribly wrong.' 
Police posted on Twitter shortly after the incident, urging parents to pick up their children from the venue on Drum Road.
More than a dozen police cars and 21 fire engines arrived at the scene to help with the emergency. Police said this morning the incident occurred before the doors of the venue were opened. 
A member of staff at the nearby Glenavon Hotel said he had heard the sirens as emergency services rushed to the scene, and police borrowed their defibrillator.
He added: 'There were ambulances passing our entrance. It's scary, and you just hoped everyone was OK. It's very sad to hear what happened.'
The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said it had received several calls from about 9.30pm last night and sent two rapid-response paramedics, two doctors and five emergency crews to the scene.
Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, said: 'We are devastated to hear of the confirmed PSNI report of at least two deaths this evening at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown.
'This is shocking and tragic news and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased.'
Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster tweeted that her 'thoughts and prayers' were 'with everyone impacted by this tonight'. 
Sinn Fein deputy leader Michelle O'Neill called it a 'parent's worst nightmare'. She added: 'My thoughts and prayers are with the families.'
Former Democratic Unionist MP for South Antrim William McCrea said: 'We've got to see what lessons can be learned from this tragedy.
'I drove past this ten minutes before it happened, not knowing that ten minutes later an absolute tragedy would happen.
'The people that I've spoken to, they're very shocked. It's a close-knit community.' 
The Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley said this morning she was deeply sorry to hear the news and sent her thoughts and prayers to those involved. 
ACC Hamilton added: 'We are continuing to interview people who were there to establish the full facts and I would appeal to anyone who witnessed what happened to contact police on 101 ext 52014.
'We need parents to talk to their children this morning and encourage them to come and tell us what happened. Please do not post photographs or videos online. Please share them with the PSNI.'
He added: 'We need people to come forward and tell us what happened last night. Three young people are dead, they deserve a full inquiry. Their parents need to know what happened to them.'
St Patrick's Day horror as girl, 17, and two boys, 16 and 17, die after 'dozens of panicked youngsters stampede' outside youth disco - leaving some 'pinned to the ground for 20 minutes' St Patrick's Day horror as girl, 17, and two boys, 16 and 17, die after 'dozens of panicked youngsters stampede' outside youth disco - leaving some 'pinned to the ground for 20 minutes' Reviewed by CUZZ BLUE on March 18, 2019 Rating: 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.