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Two killed and three hurt in 'stampede' at St Patrick's Day disco

Two young people have died in a suspected stampede at a St Patrick’s Day disco last night.

Three more people were hospitalised with serious injuries following the incident at a Co Tyrone hotel.

Emergency services were called to the Greenvale Hotel on the Drum Road in Cookstown about 9.30pm. Five emergency crews, paramedics and doctors were dispatched to the scene.

A multi-agency response was launched involving the PSNI and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS).

Tragically, the police service confirmed late last night that two people had died in what has been described as a stampede.

Shortly after the incident began, the PSNI requested parents to collect their children from a pre-arranged place, indicating that the event was likely to have been attended by a large number of young people of school age.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton last night said: “I can confirm there are two fatalities at this stage and a small number of other casualties.

“Parents are asked to collect children from family and friends reception at Glenavon Hotel. At this stage the cause of the incident is unknown however police have commenced a full investigation.

“While the exact cause of the incident is still unknown, there are reports of a crush at the scene,” the senior police constable later added.

It is understood that casualties had to be resuscitated with defibrillators at the hotel after suffering crush injuries.

Three people were taken to separate hospitals nearby in Co Armagh by ambulance with various injuries following the tragic incident.

The NIAS said in a statement: “The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service received a number of calls from 21.30 on Sunday March 17 following reports of a number of people having sustained serious injuries at an incident in the Drum Road area of Cookstown.

“NIAS despatched two rapid response paramedics, two doctors and five emergency crews to the scene.

“Three patients have been taken by ambulance to Antrim Area Hospital for treatment for various injuries and another to Craigavon Area Hospital.

“The incident, from a NIAS perspective, is now closed.”

The Drum Road in Cookstown was closed off in the wake of the incident to facilitate the emergency response.

Chief Inspector Graham Dodds said: “The St Patrick’s event is now over, I would appeal to parents to contact their children, collect them immediately.”

Local councillor Trevor Wilson said he had been phoned from the scene by a witness.

“There was a St Patrick’s night event in the hotel and it was full of young people,” he said. “There seems to have been a stampede, and a number of people have been badly injured. I know that the police are treat it as a major incident, and all the emergency services are on the scene . It’s terrible news,” the UUP councillor said.

DUP leader Arlene Foster was among those responding to last night’s tragedy.

In a social media post, she said her thoughts and prayers were with everyone affected by the incident.

Sinn Fein vice-president Michelle O’Neill tweeted: “Heartbreaking news coming from Cookstown tonight. A parents worst nightmare. My thoughts and prayers are with the families.”

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