A TEENAGER has offered up a disturbing account of the stampede outside a St Patrick’s Day disco in Co. Tyrone that left three others dead.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) confirmed that a 16-year-old boy, a 17-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy lost their lives by the entrance of the Greenvale Hotel & Restaurant on Drum Road, Cookstown on Sunday night.
The three teens have since been identified as Connor Currie, Lauren Bullock and Morgan Barnard. Another three teenagers were also taken to hospital.
Police initially arrived at the scene after responding to reports of a "crush" at the front of the hotel involving a large group of young people waiting to enter a St Patrick's night party.
Police launch investigation following the deaths of 3 teens at St Patrick’s Day event in Cookstown. ACC Mark Hamilton said: "It is heart-breaking an event which should have been fun should end in such a terrible tragedy."https://t.co/uZ4sJF537H
— Police Mid Ulster (@PSNIMidUlster) March 18, 2019
Eimear Tallon, a teenage girl present during the incident, has since taken to social media to offer up a detailed account of how events unfolded.
“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.
“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."
Eimear says she appealed for help and urged people to “move back” repeatedly shouting: “My friends are on the ground, move back!”
However, she could see “people laughing with no idea what was going on”.
“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.”
At this point, she confesses she closed her eyes and “accepted what was going to happen”.
“People were scratching, biting and grabbing anything they could to pull themselves up to breathe…people were literally fighting for their lives.”
“It got to a point where even when I had my eyes open, I couldn’t see. It felt like this went on forever but eventually I felt bodies being dragged over me and beside me. It wasn’t the bouncers and it wasn’t the police, it was the young people in the line who pulled me out.
“I rang my parents to explain what had happened and let them know I was okay, I then tried to find my friends. I ran about frantically.”
“I seen a young boy lying motionless trying to be resuscitated by the ambulance crew and I seen his friends screech as they found out he wasn’t going to make it.”
Though Eimear was eventually reunited with the friends she was with that night, she knew one of the three teens who did perish in the crush.
“Unfortunately, a friend of mine who I had seen in the line and chatted to minutes beforehand has died. Morgan and the two other angels, just like the rest of us, left their families last night for an enjoyable night out but unlike the rest of us, they didn’t make it home.
“My heart breaks for their poor families.”
Police in Co Tyrone are now trying to establish the circumstances that led to the incident outside a disco in Cookstown disco.