Death toll from petrol station blast rises to nine
A search and recovery operation is continuing in the village of Creeslough, Co Donegal
The death toll from the explosion at an Irish petrol station has risen to nine, police said.
The search for further fatalities in Creeslough is ongoing, An Garda Siochana said.
In a statement from the Irish police force a spokesperson said: “Emergency services remain at the scene in a search and recovery phase of this operation.
“An Garda Siochana can now confirm nine fatalities as a result of this incident.
“The search and recovery for further fatalities continues.”
A search and recovery operation is continuing in the village of Creeslough, Co Donegal, as rescue workers try to locate several people who are still missing.
Friday afternoon’s blast ripped through the Applegreen service station and convenience store and adjacent buildings.
A major emergency response operation involving first responders from both sides of the Irish border extended through the night and continued on Saturday morning.
Rubble was being moved on to trailers and hauled from the scene.
Two rescue workers were on a raised platform above the site of the explosion and a digger was working through the debris.
Among those gathered at the cordon on Friday night were relatives of people believed to have been in the buildings at the time.
Sniffer dogs were being used amid the rubble.
At one point on Friday night all machinery was turned off and onlookers were asked to remain silent as rescue workers attempted to detect survivors beneath the debris.
The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins expressed his shock at the “terrible tragedy”.
“All of our thoughts must go out to all of those who have been affected,” he said.
“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.
“This tragedy is a terrible blow to a community that is closely knit and where every loss and injury will be felt by every member of the community and far beyond.”
Irish premier Micheal Martin said he expected the death toll to rise.
The Taoiseach described Friday as the “darkest of days” for Donegal and Ireland.
“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,” he said.
The Garda has not provided any information on the suspected cause of the explosion.