Cookstown deaths: Police name three teenagers killed at St Patrick's Day disco
Three teenagers who died a St Patrick’s Day disco on Sunday have been named as Connor Currie, aged 16, and Lauren Bullock and Morgan Barnard, both aged 17.
“Our preliminary investigations show there was a crush towards the front door of this hotel, and in that crush people seem to have fallen,” he said.
Several hundred people were trying to get into the venue, after being dropped off by buses shortly before 9.30pm on Sunday.
“There seemed to be a little bit of struggling going on to get people up off the ground and that might explain also why there was a report of some fighting,” Mr Hamilton added.
“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,” one young person, who was at the hotel, said.
“It was the most traumatic, frightening and stressful moment of my life.”
Emergency services attended within minutes of the crush happening and attempted to resuscitate the victims.
Two were taken to hospital critically ill but died later on. One teenager died at the scene.
“Everybody did their best for them last night but it is a truly appalling incident,” Mr Hamilton said.
“The last person died [on Monday] morning, unfortunately, with his parents near him.”
Lauren Bullock’s cheerleading team paid tribute to her in a Facebook post, describing her as a “beautiful soul” who was the backbone of the group.
“You were the most down to earth, beautiful soul and our Coral team will never be the same without you,” the team added.
The 17-year-old was a pupil at St Patrick’s College in Dungannon.
Catherine McHugh, the school’s headmistress, described her as a “shining light”.
“She was a leader among her peers and a quiet, strong and loyal presence,” Ms McHugh said. ”A treasured friend and capable young lady with a bright future.”
Edendork Gaelic Athletic Association football club said it was devastated to hear of the death of “much loved and highly thought of” player and member Connor.
A major investigation into the incident is underway, Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said.
Officers expect there to be “potentially hundreds of witnesses, many of whom are teenagers,” he said.
“I would urge young people who were present at the Greenvale last night to please get in touch with MIT detectives. We need to know what you saw.
“I can understand that there may be some reluctance to contact police if you are underage, but please do not be concerned.
“We are investigating the deaths of three young people, young people just like you. That is our focus.”
Security camera footage is being examined and police have appealed for videos captured by those present.
A 16-year-old girl is in a stable condition in hospital, while another two teenagers were treated for injuries.
Additional reporting by agencies