Cookstown hotel crush horror: People were scratching, biting and grabbing anything they could to pull themselves up to breath, says witness
A witness to the incident at a St Patrick's Day disco at a Northern Ireland hotel in which three teenagers died has describe it as the "most traumatic, frightening and stressful moment" of her life.
Eimear Tallon was at the event at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown where a 17-year-old girl, a 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy died after what police believe was a "crush" involving scores of youngsters.
In an emotional post on social media, Ms Tallon claimed that chaos ensued after a crowd of people queueing outside the hotel began pushing to get in.
"Two of my friends fell to the ground. I tried to pull them up but at that point there was no room for them to even come back up," she wrote.
"I could still see people laughing with no idea what was going on. At this point I thought my friends were going to die, I was standing up and I couldn’t breath so I couldn’t imagine how they felt.
"I was hysterically screaming for people to move but it was only the people around me who knew the seriousness."
Ms Tallon said as the pushing continued, she too fell and looked up to see "multiple bodies" lying on top of her.
"It was the most traumatic, frightening and stressful moment of my life," she said.
"I was looking about for my friends and trying to keep my head up. As dramatic as it sounds, I closed my eyes for a little and accepted what was going to happen, however an elbow to my throat soon woke me up.
"People were scratching, biting and grabbing anything they could to pull themselves up to breath. I think that’s what really shows the seriousness of it all, people were literally fighting for their lives."
She was eventually pulled up to her feet and taken to safety and, as she search frantically for her friends, she witnessed paramedics trying to resuscitate a young boy who was lying motionless on the ground.
Ms Tallon said one of her friends died in the incident and her "heart breaks" for the victim's families.
"These 'people' aren’t just 'people', they were young people, teenagers at 16/17 years old. They were only children. It could’ve been anyone," she said.
Police said they are investigating the incident and have appealed for anyone with any footage from the scene to pass it onto the PSNI.
Belfast Telegraph Digital