Belfast Telegraph

German children in terror as thugs smash bus window

By Deborah McAleese

It was an evening of fun organised to break down divides and share cultures, but it ended in terror when three German schoolchildren were injured after their coach came under attack by a group of thugs.

The teenagers were taking part in a cross-community project with young people from east and west Belfast when a number of youths hurled bricks and bottles at their coach, smashing two windows.

Two of the injured students were taken to hospital with minor facial injuries and suffering from shock.

The private coach, which was carrying around 40 students aged between 14 and 16, was travelling past the Tullycarnet estate in east Belfast when a number of youths began throwing missiles at the vehicle, smashing two windows. The three German students were injured by shards of glass.

Police and ambulance crew were called to the scene after the coach driver pulled onto the side of the road a short distance from the scene of the attack. Officers and paramedics remained at the scene for almost two hours treating the students for shock.

Susan Sullivan, of the Belfast Bus Company, which was transporting the teenagers, said they were all left very upset by their ordeal.

“This has left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. We are all very upset by what happened. We have nothing but praise for the police and ambulance staff.

“We have 33 buses on the road and, unfortunately, this sort of thing does happen. We want to highlight how dangerous this is. Someone could have been killed or brain-damaged.”

The group was returning from a night out at Dundonald International Ice Bowl on Monday, as part of a week-long cross-community programme organised by the East Belfast Area Project, when the incident happened around 9.30pm.

All of the schoolchildren have since recovered and were yesterday on a tour of the North Antrim coast.

A spokesman for the Belfast Education and Library Board, which runs the East Belfast Area Project, said: “Thankfully no one was injured in the attack. However two members of the visiting group were suffering from mild shock and were brought to hospital as a precautionary measure.”

A spokeswoman for the PSNI appealed for anyone with information to contact them. It is understood it was a random attack.

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