The Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, County Tyrone. Wikipedia photo.
Three young people – two boys and a girl – were killed and three others hurt in a suspected stampede outside the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, County Tyrone, on St. Patrick’s night.
A large crowd of young people had gathered at the hotel for a disco.
According to an Irish Independent report, a young girl who was in attendance at the event described in harrowing detail how the commotion unfolded. She said she fell and was trapped under other young people in the queue.
“It started with pushing and shoving but everyone was still laughing and having a good time. Then the literal crushing started,” she wrote on Facebook.
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“The people on the outside of this line were so determined to get in they felt the need to not only push us against the wall but push with all their strength. No matter how much we screamed and pushed back, there was no movement.
“Two of my friends fell to the ground. I tried to pull them up but at that point there was no room for them to even come back up. So I started screaming at the top of my lungs: ‘My friends are on the ground, move back! My friends have fainted, move back! My friends can’t breath, move back! Nothing. Not one bit of movement.
“I could still see people laughing with no idea what was going on. At this point I thought my friends were going to die, I was standing up and I couldn’t breathe so I couldn’t imagine how they felt. I was hysterically screaming for people to move but it was only the people around me who knew the seriousness.
“With more and more pushing, I also fell. But the thing about me was that I wasn’t on the ground, I was on top of someone, and this person was on top of someone else.
“As I looked down I could see multiple bodies underneath me and as I looked up I could see multiple bodies on top of me. It was the most traumatic, frightening and stressful moment of my life.
“People were scratching, biting and grabbing anything they could to pull themselves up to breath. I think that’s what really shows the seriousness of it all, people were literally fighting for their lives.
“It felt like this went on forever but eventually I felt bodies being dragged over me and beside me…it was the young people in the line who pulled me out.
“Unfortunately, a friend of mine who I had seen in the line and chatted to minutes beforehand has died. They didn’t make it home. My heart breaks for their poor families. I’m heartbroken.”
Emergency services were called to the hotel about 9.30 p.m.
Police are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident to get in contact. They have urged parents to talk to their children and encourage them to come forward to describe what happened.