Three teenagers have died following a suspected stampede by people pushing to get into hotel hosting a disco in County Tyrone.
The victims - a 17-year-old girl and two boys aged 16 and 17 - are believed to have been crushed when a “large crowd” surged forward to get into the St Patrick’s Day party, according to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
“Our preliminary investigations show there was a crush towards the front door of this hotel, and in that crush people seem to have fallen,” said PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton.
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“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.”
Three other teens, all under 18, were taken to hospital with injuries following the incident at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown at around 9.30pm on Sunday. A 16-year-old girl is in a stable condition, while the two other injured youngsters were treated and released, reports the Belfast Telegraph.
Emma Heatherington, whose two teenage sons were at the event, said she had “felt sick” after police contacted parents asking them to collect their children from the disco, reports the Irish Independent.
“[My sons] 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,” she said.
“They came home very, very shaken, with rumours that some people had died.”
Police are interviewing witnesses in an attempt to establish exactly what happened, and are urging everyone who was there to contact them, the BBC reports.
“Please do not post photographs or videos online. Please share them with the PSNI,” said Hamilton.
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