Petrol station explosion rocks Irish village, kills nine
As of now, the number of confirmed dead is nine as emergency services are still searching for unaccounted people in the wreckage.
A massive explosion ripped a petrol station in a small village in Northern Ireland, Creeslough, in County Donegal on Friday at around 3:15 pm.
So far, authorities reported that nine people were found dead and eight others were injured, while emergency services are still searching for other fatalities in the wreckage. The wounded were sent to a hospital at Letterkenny, 15 miles away, and Dublin, 160 miles away.
The impact of the explosion in the small village of only 400 people caused severe damage to adjacent premises, including a shop, a deli counter, and a post office - some of which collapsed. Some speculate it to have been triggered by gas leaks.
As such, the scene made it clear that there were no expectations of finding survivors. Yet friends and families of people believed to have been in the buildings are still waiting for news.
Police initially confirmed three fatalities on Friday then six on Saturday, and the number is expected to rise as searches are still underway.
“The search and recovery for further fatalities continue. Eight persons were transferred to hospital for medical attention yesterday,” the national police of Ireland said in a statement.
A landing zone has been set up by the police in the area for Police to examine the causes of the explosion.
Hard to describe the pain and heartbreak here in Creeslough tonight. We are safe, thankfully, but shocked to the core. Unimaginable that our normal tranquil view over the valley is now lit up in the search for survivors. Our beloved, tight knit, community is devastated. pic.twitter.com/KfWzVXVZP7— Eamonn McFadden (@EamonnMcFadden) October 7, 2022
At one point during the searches on Friday night, emergency services turned off machinery, blew whistles, and asked onlookers to remain silent while only leaving lights on at the scene to facilitate the search for survivors.
A special mass for the dead and injured was held at the village parish priest, Fr John Joe Duffy, with messages of condolence pouring from across Ireland.
"All of our thoughts must go out to all of those who have been affected," said the Irish President, Michael D Higgins. "Those who have received news of the loss of a loved one, those injured and, most of all, those who are waiting with anxiety for news of their loved ones."
Ireland's Prime Minister Micheál Martin told RTÉ, "It is absolutely devastating and quite shocking in terms of the enormity of this tragedy, the scale of it. An explosion ripping through the normality of a community, with people going to the shop, the normal toing and froing of life."
While paying tribute to all those who assisted in the search, Martin said, "We thank, in the warmest way, the emergency services, who went into harm’s way, who did everything they possibly could to rescue, to help and to comfort the community and to all the emergency services, the north-west and in Northern Ireland," adding that "a shocking toll and there will be more, and it’s a search operation now and we hope and pray."
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