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Guests share firebomb ordeal

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Guests caught up in the fire bomb attack which gutted part of the Everglades Hotel in Derry have spoken about their ordeal.

Around 50 people had to evacuated from the Prehen hotel following the shock attack at around 11.15pm on Thursday night.

Some stunned guests were woken out of their sleep by fire alarms going off throughout the building.

Others had been in the reception area and the bar when the hooded bomber arrived with the hold-all containing the fire bomb.

Among those who were evacuated before the device exploded in a ball of fire were popular trad music outfit the High Kings.

They had been due to make a DVD live at the Millennium Forum in Derry tonight (Friday) and had decided to come up a night early.

Finbarr Clancy from the famous musical Clancy family, who is a member of the High Kings, had driven for five hours from Carrick-on-Suir in south Tipperary and arrived at the hotel just after the bombers fled in a car which was later found burned out off the Foyle Road.

Speaking as he and his bandmates collected equipment and their belongings at the hotel this morning, he said:

“Just as I was driving up to the gates exactly at about 11.15pm, just a few minutes after it Happened, I noticed that the doors here the exit doors were open and the fire alarm was going off and people were slowly filtering out.

“A lot of people were wearing bath robes. Staff here were telling people to stay away. As I drove up I believe it was the manager came out said to get back there was a bomb scare and leave as quick as possible.

“I moved my care from the reception area 50-60 yards away. To describe the scene, everybody was just kind of stunned, and numbed by the whole thing, couldn’t believe what was happening.

“I felt sorry for the hotel receptionist she seemed shaken up by the whole thing. I believe a masked assailant or gunman came in and put a package on the desk and said you’ve 30 minutes to get out. So obviously she was panic stricken so she was trying to be consoled by her workmates.

“Everyone just kind of milled around for a whole. We had our tour bus here and we heard everybody was moved to the City Hotel.”

Julie and Leonard Armstrong from Surrey in England, who were in Derry visiting relatives, were fast asleep when the alarm was sounded.

Julie said: “At about 11.15pm the alarm started going off and because we were quite heavily asleep- we had woke up at 4am yesterday morning to come along here.

“It was all a bit of surprise really. We didn’t know where we where to begin with when we woke from sleep.”

Leonard added: “We grabbed as many clothes as we could to put on us and ran down the corridor to get outside.

“The hotel staff were brilliant every very efficient get everyone out very, very quickly.”

He added: “It is a bit of a shock- you come here many times for a holiday and suddenly you are in the midst of it all.

“You think these things are remote, that they happen to other people, then they happen to you and you are part of it.”

 

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