A close-knit rural community has been left in despair after two teenagers were killed and a third was left fighting for his life after a car crash.
Anthony McKenna (16) and Paul McGrath (18) died when the car they were travelling in collided with a tractor in Co Tyrone yesterday.
A third teenager, named locally as Tommy Nugent, was rushed to the Erne Hospital where his condition was described last night as “critical”.
The smash happened on the Killyclogher Road outside Omagh shortly after 3pm yesterday. The three pals, who were travelling in the same vehicle, were from the Killyclogher area and last night the stunned community was trying to come to terms with the loss.
Parish priest Fr Eugene Boland, who knew the two victims, said their families had been left “utterly devastated” by the tragedy.
“This is absolutely devastating news for our parish,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.
“I spoke with the two families earlier and they are heartbroken.
“It was just a scene of utter devastation. There is grief, disbelief and absolute heartbreak.
“The families are just in pieces.”
Fr Boland said Mr McKenna and Mr McGrath were the youngest members of large families who are well-known in the area. “People in Killyclogher are just in total shock tonight,” he added. “These young men would have been well-known. The parish is beside itself with grief.” The accident happened on the main Cookstown to Omagh Road close to the home of Omagh District Council chairman Paddy McGowan.
He said: “My first reaction is to pass on my condolences to the families. It is a terrible tragedy at the start of a new year. It seems all the more poignant at this time of year.
“It is so tragic, words can’t explain it.”
Mr McGowan — who was travelling on the Killyclogher Road earlier in the day — said the area had been shrouded in a dense fog.