Teenager in queue for Greenvale Hotel St Patrick's disco tells of efforts to save tragic teen Connor Currie
A young girl who witnessed the tragic crush which killed three teenagers at a St Patrick’s Day event in Tyrone has described how people struggled to get their friends off the ground as the pushing worsened and the efforts to save one of the victims.
Eboney Johnson (16) was one of around 400 people in the queue at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown on Sunday night which left three dead and several injured.
The teenager said she was at the front of the queue to get into the hotel when the pushing started. It escalated and she saw several people lying on the ground, including Conor Currie (16) who died during the crush. Lauren Bullock (17) and Morgan Barnard (17) also tragically passed away following the incident.
She laid flowers at the scene on Tuesday afternoon.
"We were all up in the queue at the front. The pushing and everything had started but that would be normal enough on a night out," she said.
"The bouncers would normally come out and get us in some sort of a line but I think they never realised the seriousness of it at that stage. We were lucky we were in a corner but some people started to go down.
"People were trying to pick each other up. Every time someone went down to pick someone up another person would push. As people tried to pick people up it just became a struggle. I’d have to say for all the lads that were there they done most of the work lifting everybody up.
"It was like a (protective) circle was formed pushing everyone out but nobody realised why,” she said.
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Eboney described seeing several people on the ground including 16-year-old Connor Currie.
"I looked down and could see everybody lying there, and I could see Connor himself there getting the help that he needed. It was such a tragic situation. I wouldn’t know if it could have been prevented but it definitely could have been helped.
"That’s all we would have seen then there were people taking us younger ones away from the scene so we wouldn’t be able to see it.
"It was just so emotional, then they took everyone up to the roundabout so nobody could see anything. It was just tragic.”
Her mother Wendy Johnson said she was one of the lucky ones who managed to bring her child home.
“It’s horrendous, you were just waiting to see if your own child was okay and as I say we were the lucky ones who got our children home, but it’s just an awful tragic event even for the young children to watch and to witness their friends going through what they went through," she said.
“Now they just have to be there for each other and support each other and hopefully that will guide them all and not scar them too much.”
The PSNI’s serious crime branch is investigating the planning and organising of a St Patrick’s Day event in a Tyrone hotel where three teenagers died during a crush.
Lauren Bullock (17), Connor Currie (16) and Morgan Barnard (17) from Dungannon in Co Tyrone, died in the tragedy at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown on Sunday night.
A number of people were also injured in the crush which investigators say went on for a number of minutes.
Police are urging those who were at the venue to get in touch. They have said there would be nothing to fear if they were underage as investigators are focused on getting an accurate picture of events.
Secretary of State Karen Bradley visits Cookstown to offer her condolences & show her support to the community & all those affected by the tragedy on St Patrick's Day. The SoS met @MidUlster_DC reps & members of the emergency services to thank them personally for their efforts. pic.twitter.com/hQuLNtMcef— Northern Ireland Office (@NIOgov) March 19, 2019
The Secretary of State visits the @burnavontheatre & signs the book of condolence for Connor Currie, Lauren Bullock and Morgan Barnard, the three teenagers who tragically lost their lives on Sunday. @MidUlster_DC pic.twitter.com/Dl8WpGDQvq— Northern Ireland Office (@NIOgov) March 19, 2019