Irish PM visits scene of massive petrol station blast that left 10 dead

A crane lifts debris from the blast site during the fruitless search for survivors. <i>Photo: AAP</i>

A crane lifts debris from the blast site during the fruitless search for survivors. Photo: AAP

Ireland’s Prime Minister Micheál Martin has told shaken rescue workers at the scene of a massive petrol station explosion that “the entire nation is mourning.”

Ten victims were killed on Friday when  the service station in Creeslough, a small village in northwest Ireland, erupted in a ball of flame which police are treating as a “tragic accident”.

The huge explosion claimed the lives of four men, three women, two teenagers – a boy and girl – and a girl of primary school age.

Four others, including the young primary school pupil, were also killed, with a further eight people injured in the explosion remained in hospital on Saturday.

All of the 10 victims were from the wider Creeslough area.

Mr Martin spoke to members of the emergency services who worked for 24 hours to locate victims remains.

‘A terrible silence’

The lengthy search and recovery operation concluded on Saturday afternoon.

Speaking at the cordon around the blast site, Mr Martin said there was “deep sadness” in the village and a “terrible silence” reflecting the enormity of what has happened.

“A young child in the shop and two teens, as well as men and women who were going about their lives as well.

“It is a very close-knit community and our heart goes out to them.

“Talking to those on the front line and everyone involved, they were very moved by the extraordinary support they got from the community here almost immediately.

“Many volunteers rushed to the scene to try and do everything they could to help because it was an horrific scene they came upon and we must always remember our emergency services.”

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald, the leader of Ireland’s main opposition party, also visited Creeslough on Saturday night, as did the country’s deputy premier, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar.

The political leaders later joined emergency service members and local residents for a service for the victims at a nearby church.

“At this point in time we have to keep an open mind in how we investigate this, but our information at this point in time is pointing towards a tragic accident,” Garda Superintendent David Kelly said.

-with AAP

Topics: Ireland
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