Belfast Telegraph

Anger as missile is thrown at ambulance in west Belfast

By Amanda Ferguson

Attacks on ambulances and crews could cost lives, it has been warned.

The latest in a spate of attacks took place on Tuesday night as a rapid response vehicle attended a shooting in the Ardmonagh Gardens area of Turf Lodge in west Belfast.

It was struck by at least one object as it made its way along the Whiterock Road, shattering a side window of the vehicle.

"The potential for a much more serious incident is obvious for all to see," said NI Ambulance Service spokesman John McPoland.

"The vehicle was travelling at high speed and the driver could have lost control and been involved in a collision which could have cost lives.

"To his credit, the paramedic reported the incident and carried on to the original call knowing that someone was in need of immediate medical care."

In recent weeks members of the public have hit and spat at ambulance crews.

Mr McPoland added: "However, attacks on crews are starting to rise again in spite of previous calls for assistance from local communities to play a role in driving the assaults down."

Last night, Sinn Fein councillor Janice Austin condemned the shooting of the man in his 30s, and the subsequent attack on NIAS staff.

"There can be no place for actions like this in our society and this attack must be condemned," Ms Austin said.

She described the the attack on the ambulance as it travelled to the hospital as "totally unacceptable".

"Throwing a stone at any vehicle, never mind an ambulance, is extremely dangerous," she said.

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