I could have died, says teen knifed at Eleventh Night party in Newtownards
A teenager who was stabbed in the torso after an Eleventh Night bonfire in Newtownards has said he is lucky to be alive.
The 16-year-old had been attending a bonfire party in the Westwinds estate when police said he became involved in an altercation around 1am and was seriously assaulted.
He has since been released from hospital and is reported to be recovering well.
Posting on social media the teenager said his injuries required 11 staples.
He wrote: "Could've died yesterday but thank you to all my mates who helped me when my stomach was basically open I appreciate it a lot and I won't forget it", he said.
Police have posted a picture of the teenager's horrific injuries on Facebook and appealed for information.
On Tuesday morning the victim's uncle posted a picture online of his nephew's open wound while he lay on a hospital bed.
The bloody image is too graphic to print but shows an extremely large gash on the 16-year-old's left side.
"Disgrace how a young fella can stand (and) talk to ya - half an hour later he's cut up," his uncle said.
"He could have died, what does it take to waken people up? Just look at this. A family day and night out and he's scarred for life."
A second family member referred to those responsible as "scumbags". She added: "He's very lucky, couple of centimetres either way it could have been a different story."
Jimmy Menagh, an independent councillor for Ards and North Down Borough Council, said: "It's horrific, it looks very bad and it is bad, he was lucky.
"I've been speaking to the family and the young lad is improving. They're taken aback and it is a frightening experience.
"We've had bonfires here for a long time, down in the Westwinds in particular, and we've never had any serious problems. We had over a thousand people there on Monday night."
A police officer who attended the scene said: "We are seeking further witnesses to a serious assault which resulted in these horrific injuries.
"I arrived shortly after the incident myself and I know there were plenty of people in the area at the time.
"We have spoken to some folk but I know there must be more out there who are maybe reluctant to speak with us."
The officer added: "On a personal note I want to thank some members of the community who assisted us in first aid prior to police bringing him to casualty."
Margaret Cameron, a member of a local community association, said the assault didn't reflect the atmosphere in the area's Eleventh Night celebrations.