While waiting to get inside a St. Patrick’s Day disco at a hotel, a stampede erupted and resulted in the death of three teenagers in Northern Ireland, according to The Guardian.
On a cold and wet night, the “crush” occurred at around 9:45 p.m., as hundreds of people were waiting to enter the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, County Tyrone. A 17-year-old boy, 17-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy died as the stampede broke out.
“Our preliminary investigations show that there was a crush toward the front door of this hotel, and in that crush, people seem to have fallen, said Mark Hamilton, an assistant chief constable with the Police Serice of Northern Ireland (PSNI). (RELATED: Six Dead And Nearly 50 Injured After Night Club Stampede In Italy)
ACC Mark Hamilton extends condolences to the families of the three teenagers who died at a St. Patrick’s Day event in Cookstown. A major investigation is now underway. pic.twitter.com/UiktCkx4IU
— PSNI (@PoliceServiceNI) March 18, 2019
In addition to the three deceased teenagers, another 16-year-old girl was in stable condition and other teenagers were injured after the incident.
The Greenvale hotel has the capacity of about 500 people and is a popular venue for discos. While the doors to the hotel were locked on Sunday night, several coaches of young people arrived at the same time resulting in a large flux of people waiting for the gates to open. (RELATED: Farmer Accuses Vegans Of Killing Piglets In Stampede While Trying To Cuddle Them)
“We were all outside waiting for the gate to open and get in,” an unnamed teenager, who was at the incident, told the Ulster Herald. “Then, everyone just started swaying back-and-forth and pushing from side-to-side. Suddenly, there was a rush forward and the whole queue collapsed and everyone fell to the ground.”
The teenager went on the explain that there were “more than 100” people who fell down in the crowd, including himself, who was “pinned down” under others and unable to move for “20 minutes.”
“I didn’t know what was going to happen or how I’d get out,” said the teenager. “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.”
The incident “traumatized” the teenager and made him reconsider if he would go out ever again: “It was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced, really frightening. I’m traumatized, and after this, I don’t know if I ever want to go out again.”
Reports of assaults during the chaos at the hotel were downplayed by police, who said the struggle to get people off the ground could have led to some fighting.
“There seems to have been a little bit of struggling to get people up off the ground. And that may have explained why there was some reports of fighting,” said Hamilton.
In an effort to understand what happened, Hamilton and the Northern Ireland police are interviewing those who are present and are asking those with footage of the incident to share it with them directly.
Do you have footage or images from the Greenvale Hotel last night? Please send them to us using this link only
— PSNI (@PoliceServiceNI) March 18, 2019
“It is heartbreaking that an event which should have been fun for these youngsters on St. Patrick’s night should end in such a terrible tragedy,” said Hamilton.
Politicians from Northern Ireland offered their thoughts and prayers for those affected in the incident, including Mary Lou McDonald, the leader of the Sinn Féin, an Irish-left wing party, who called it a “night of tragedy.” (RELATED: Northern Ireland’s Citizens Want Abortion Decriminalized, According To Poll)
“I cannot fathom the horror that the parents of these children are going through this morning,” McDonald tweeted. “What should have been a night of fun and celebration for young people has turned into a night of tragedy.”
I can’t fathom the horror that the parents of the three young people are going through this morning. What should have been a night of fun and celebration has turned into a night of tragedy. My deepest sympathies at this time of heartbreak, shock and loss https://t.co/g9FelSfY4C
— Mary Lou McDonald (@MaryLouMcDonald) March 18, 2019