Wednesday 24 April 2019

Disco tragedy: 'As people tried to pick each other up it just became a struggle'

Eboney Johnson who witnessed the crush at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown that claimed the lives of Lauren Bullock, Morgan Barnard and Connor Currie. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Eboney Johnson who witnessed the crush at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown that claimed the lives of Lauren Bullock, Morgan Barnard and Connor Currie. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Morgan Barnard
Connor Currie
Lauren Bullock
Robin Schiller

Robin Schiller

A young girl who witnessed the tragic crush which killed three teenagers at a St Patrick's Day event in Co Tyrone has described how people struggled to get their friends off the ground during the chaos.

Eboney Johnson (16) was one of up to 400 people at the Greenvale Hotel, in Cookstown, on Sunday night. 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 Connor Currie (16) who died following the crush.

Lauren Bullock (17) and Morgan Barnard (17) also tragically lost their lives in the incident.

Morgan Barnard
Morgan Barnard

Speaking to the Irish Independent from outside the Greenvale Hotel yesterday afternoon where she had brought flowers for the deceased, Eboney said: "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.

Connor Currie
Connor Currie

"We were lucky we were in a corner but some people started to go down.

"People were trying to pick each other up.

Lauren Bullock
Lauren Bullock

"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 added.

Eboney described seeing several people on the ground.

"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.

"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," she added.

"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 on Sunday night

Ms Johnson told the Irish Independent: "It's horrendous, you were just waiting to see if your own child was OK 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.

"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."

Hundreds of people attended a special Mass for the three teenagers in Cookstown yesterday.

Irish Independent

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