Suspected gas leak kills two teens in holiday flat
Leaking gas fumes poisoned two school friends in a seaside apartment as they enjoyed a holiday ahead of their exam results.
Aaron Davidson and Neil McFerran, both 18, were found dead in an apartment in the town of Castlerock, Co Derry, on the north coast of Northern Ireland yesterday after relatives raised the alarm.
They had travelled to the beachfront getaway from their homes in Newtownabbey on the outskirts of Belfast to relax before turning their minds to future plans when their exam grades were published.
Another teenage friend, Matthew Gaw, who was unconscious when emergency services broke into the flat in the Tunnel Brae Court complex was revived and was being treated in nearby Coleraine last night.
It is believed all three were overcome by carbon monoxide fumes.
The headmaster of the teenagers' school, Glengormley High, said they were role models for fellow pupils.
"Both boys had displayed exceptional talents in their careers here and were popular and valued by both students and staff," said principal Lex Hayes.
"They will be sadly missed by all who knew them in school."
The other seven apartments in the complex were evacuated after the incident and the building remained cordoned off yesterday as police and officials from the Health and Safety Executive examined the scene and checked all gas appliances.
Neil was a talented actor who was also an active member of the school choir. He had just completed his AS-level exams after transferring to Glengormley after his GCSEs.
Aaron achieved some of the school's best marks in his GCSE exams two years ago and was planning to go to university.
Mr Hayes said counselling would be provided for all pupils in the school to help them overcome the grief.
Newtownabbey councillor Noreen McClelland said the community was extremely saddened at the deaths: "This is a terrible tragedy that has sent shockwaves through the community here in Newtownabbey.
"People in this area are devastated for the families of these teenage boys, and their young friend who survived. They all must be going through hell at the moment."
In the UK, about 50 people die each year in their homes from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.