LONDON – Three teenagers have died in a suspected crush that took place at a Saint Patrick’s Day event held at a hotel in Northern Ireland, police said on Monday.
The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service had been called to the Greenvale Hotel in the central town of Cookstown on Sunday evening in response to reports of people being injured, Police Service of Northern Ireland said in a statement.
“I can confirm that a third teenager has now sadly died from injuries,” PSNI assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton said in a statement.
While the exact cause of the incident was not yet known, there were “reports of a crush at the scene and initial inquiries indicate that a large group of young people were waiting to enter a disco,” Hamilton added.
Hamilton, who spoke to members of the media outside the hotel, said there were also reports of “some fighting” and at least one person had reported they were “assaulted.”
The victims were a 17-year-old girl and two boys aged 16 and 17, respectively, according to police.
Another girl, 16, was “in a stable condition in hospital,” police said in a statement.
Two other teens were treated for injuries at the scene.
Hamilton said his thoughts were with the families of the three teens who lost their lives, as well as those who had been injured in the incident.
Police, along with Environmental Health at Mid Ulster Council, were carrying out a probe into the deadly incident.
The authorities were making an appeal to parents to encourage their children to come forward with any information they had with regards to Sunday’s events.
They were also asking people not to post photographs or videos from the scene online.
St. Patrick’s Day is an annual feast day held on March 17 to commemorate the death of the patron saint of Ireland.
“It is heart-breaking that an event which should have been fun for these youngsters on St Patrick’s night should end in such a terrible tragedy,” Hamilton said in a statement.
The leaders of Northern Ireland’s two main political parties reacted to the news.
Michelle O’Neill, deputy president of Sinn Fein, who represents the Mid Ulster district, said: “Heartbreaking news coming from Cookstown tonight. A parent’s worst nightmare. My thoughts and prayers with the families.”
Meanwhile, Arlene Foster, who leads the Democratic Unionist Party, also offered her “thoughts and prayers with everyone impacted.”