St Patrick’s Day: Three dead at Cookstown hotel event

St Patrick's Day: Three dead at Cookstown hotel event

Police outside the Greenvale Hotel

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Police, fire crews and the NI Ambulance Service attended the scene of the incident on Sunday night

Three teenagers are now confirmed dead following a St Patrick's Day party at a hotel in Cookstown, County Tyrone.

A 17-year-old girl, a 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy have died following the incident at the Greenvale Hotel on Sunday night.

Three other teenagers were also treated in hospital.

The police said there were reports of a crush at the scene and inquiries indicated that a large group of young people were waiting to enter a disco.

The hotel was hosting a party for young people to celebrate St Patrick's Day.

Paramedics, doctors and five emergency crews were dispatched to the venue at about 21:30 GMT.

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In a Facebook post at 22:41 GMT, the police asked parents to collect their children from the hotel immediately.

At the scene

by Mark Simpson, BBC Newsline

There is a huge sense of shock around the County Tyrone town.

Reports began circulating at 22:00 GMT that people had died. The news of two fatalities was confirmed by police just after midnight.

There were distressing scenes as some people who knew those who died broke down in tears at the police cordon.

A representative of the nearby Glenavon Hotel said the PSNI borrowed its defibrillator.

Emma Heatherington, of Donaghmore, whose two sons, aged 17 and 18, had been at the event, said she "felt sick" when she saw the police appeal.

"My two boys were there so I rang them, shaking, and thankfully got them both," she said.

"They said 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."

Skip Twitter post by @PSNIMidUlster

A multi agency incident is under way at Greenvale Hotel, Cookstown. ACC Mark Hamilton said: “I can confirm there are 2 fatalities at this stage and a small no of other casualties. Parents are asked to collect children from Family and Friends reception at Glenavon Hotel.”

— PSNI Mid Ulster (@PSNIMidUlster) March 18, 2019


End of Twitter post by @PSNIMidUlster

Sinn Féin vice-president Michelle O'Neill, whose Assembly seat of Mid Ulster partly covers Tyrone, tweeted: "Heartbreaking news coming from Cookstown tonight. A parent's worst nightmare."

Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster tweeted that her "thoughts and prayers" were "with everyone impacted by this tonight".

Speaking from outside the hotel, UUP councillor Trevor Wilson said: "I'm getting conflicting reports from people about what exactly happened, but 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."

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Brendan Marshall

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Ambulances were called to the scene at around 21:30 GMT on Sunday

Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, said on Sunday night: "We are monitoring the situation closely and echo the PSNI appeal to parents to make contact with their children and collect them immediately from the venue."

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