Creeslough tragedy: Recovery operation ongoing as people urged to pray for families
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Some relatives were this morning said to be still awaiting word of their loved ones as firefighters and rescue experts combed through the rubble following the devastating events of Friday afternoon that have left a town, a county and the entire country in shock.
Last night gardai confirmed three people had died, but by this morning the number of people who died in the explosion had risen to seven.
Eight more were taken to Letterkenny University Hospital.
Meanwhile efforts to find others who may still be missing continue.
In a statement this morning, gardai stated: “An Garda Síochána continue to work with other Emergency Services at the scene of a serious ongoing incident that occurred at approximately 3:20pm on Friday, 7th October, 2022, at a premises on the N56 at Creeslough, County Donegal.
“Donegal County Council Fire Services, An Garda Síochána, the HSE National Ambulance Service and Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service remain at the scene in a search and recovery phase of this operation.
“An Garda Síochána can now confirm seven fatalities as a result of this incident. The search and recovery for further fatalities continues.”
Donegal Fire Service were being supported by the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service, who confirmed in a statement this morning:
"NIFRS remain at Applegreen Filling Station, Cresslough, County Donegal, supporting the multi-agency response to this incident.
“NIFRS Specialist Rescue Team and other Fire & Rescue Service personnel continue to assist the search and rescue at this devastating scene.”
Speaking about the tragedy Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: "My thoughts and prayers are today with those who have lost their lives, and those injured in the devastating explosion in Creeslough.
“I wish to express my deepest sympathies to their family, and friends, and to the entire community of Creeslough, on this darkest of days for Donegal and the entire country.
“People across this island will be numbed by the same sense of shock and utter devastation as the people of Creeslough at this tragic loss of life.
“I would like to thank all the members of the emergency services, from across the North-West and Northern Ireland, who responded so quickly to the scene."
Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Rt Rev Andrew Forster, said the community will be ‘scarred by this incident for many years to come’, adding:
"I ask people to keep the bereaved and injured in their prayers, and to remember, too, members of the emergency services - and the people of Creeslough - who have been doing their utmost to save lives. We, as a community, owe them an enormous debt of gratitude.
"It is essential that the cause of Friday afternoon's explosion is established as quickly as possible and that every effort is made to prevent a recurrence."
Letterkenny University Hospital last night stood down its Major Emergency Standby protocol.
In a statement it said: “The hospital continues to treat those injured in the incident at Creeslough, Co Donegal and remains on hand to provide all necessary medical assistance required.
“We continue to appeal to the public not to come to the Emergency Department unless it is an emergency.”