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Pain and suffering of town plagued by car tragedies

THE DONEGAL town where eight men were killed in a horror road accident has experienced many car tragedies.

Buncrana, on the west of the picturesque Inishowen Peninsula, has been plunged into mourning all too often.

One of the worst accidents prior to last night's horror smash happened in February, 2006, when five people were killed.

Aija Porcika (38), from Liepaja in western Latvia, had collected her 19-year-old student daughter, Ginta Veite, at Dublin airport and was returning to Buncrana with friends, Marita Kerpe (28) and Ricardas Bielskis (35).

Their car was in a head-on collision with an oncoming vehicle occupied by two Latvian men, including Danielius Abartis (23) also from Liepaja.

The two Latvian men had earlier been at a local nightclub.

The Audi car in which they were travelling had failed to stop at the scene of a minor collision minutes before the fatal crash.

Soon after 4am, gardai on public order duty saw a car with two male occupants "driving erratically" on the main street of Buncrana.

Aija Porcika had been nearing the end of her journey back to Buncrana after being reunited with her daughter Ginta.

Ginta's flight had arrived in at 12.45am and, more than three hours later, the group was nearly home after a long day.

Their car passed Burnfoot and the stretch of road where gardai were about to set up a checkpoint to stop the Audi car.

At 4.20am, 3.5km outside Buncrana, on a notorious bend known locally as 'Beach Halt', their VW Vento was in a head-on collision with the Audi.

Less than two years before, in July, 2004, three teenagers were killed and another was seriously injured following a car crash on the outskirts of Buncrana.

The young people who died were Shane Cuffe (18) and Owen Patrick Doherty (18) from Buncrana and Aine O'Leary (16) from Skerries, Dublin.

The four teenagers were in the car when it struck a bridge on a straight stretch of road and overturned into a field at Ballymagan, near Buncrana.

It had been the third fatal accident in the Buncrana area in the previous three weeks, leaving a total of seven young people dead.