What was supposed to be a day of partying and celebrations ended in tragedy after three teenagers were crushed to death during a frantic rush outside a Northern Ireland hotel.
Lauren Bullock and Morgan Barnard, both 17, and 16-year-old Connor Currie all died after hundreds of people attempted to force their way into the Greenvale Hotel on Sunday evening, during St Patrick’s Day festivities.
As terrifying witness recounts emerge on social media, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton is demanding information as to how the tragedy unfolded.
“[Police] need people to come forward and tell us what happened last night. Three young people are dead, they deserve a full inquiry,” he said on the Police Services Northern Ireland Facebook page.
One moment teenager Eimear Tallon was sharing a laugh with a group of friends, including Mr Barnard, as they waited in the queue outside the hotel.
The next, they were all fighting for their lives.
“The people on the outside of this line were so determined to get in they felt the need to not only push us against the wall but push with all their strength,” Ms Tallon wrote in an emotional Facebook post.
“No matter how much we screamed and pushed back, there was no movement.
“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, so I started screaming at the top of my lungs ‘my friends are on the ground, my friends have fainted, my friends can’t breathe, move back’.”
Seconds later, Ms Tallon found herself next to them, being kicked and elbowed as trapped revellers desperately tried to pull themselves from the oxygen-deprived positions they were trapped in.
“I wasn’t on the ground, I was on top of someone, and this person was on top of someone else,” she recalled.
“As I looked down I could see multiple bodies underneath me and as I looked up I could see multiple bodies on top of me.
“It was the most traumatic, frightening and stressful moment of my life.”
“As it got serious, we banged the windows of the hotel and tried to get help, the people inside simply looked away.
She said while all this was happening, the gates were still locked and the bouncers “were no help”.
While she doesn’t remember how, Ms Tallon was eventually freed from the pile-up of bodies, several of which she saw laying stagnant on the ground.
“I saw a young boy lying motionless trying to be resuscitated by the ambulance crew and I saw his friends screech as they found out he wasn’t going to make it,” she wrote.
“Unfortunately, a friend of mine who I had seen in the line and chatted to minutes beforehand has died. Morgan and the two other angels, just like the rest of us, left their families last night for an enjoyable night out but unlike the rest of us, they didn’t make it home. My heart breaks for their poor families.
“These ‘people’ aren’t just ‘people’, they were young people, teenagers at 16/17 years old. They were only children.”
Northern Ireland Police say their investigation is still in its early stages and are pleading for anyone with information to come forward.
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