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Girl (13) and friends 'feared they would be crushed' at teenage disco amid concerns of overcrowding

The Elk complex in Toomebridge, Co Antrim. Picture from Google

THE mother of a 13-year-old girl says her daughter's life was saved by a quick-thinking security guard amid concerns of serious overcrowding at a teenage disco in Co Antrim.

Police have received several complaints of overcrowding at a sold-out Teenelk event at the Elk complex in Toomebridge on Friday of last week.

The mother said the ticketed event, which does not serve alcohol, was "absolutely rammed".

One eyewitness said he saw a "continuous procession" of teenagers being dropped off at the venue at around 9pm last Friday, including via coach and minibus.

Reports suggested that some children were lifted off their feet and carried along by the crowd due to the number of people in the venue.

Three teenagers died in a crush as they queued to get into a disco at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, on St Patrick's Night in 2019.

The Elk complex is one of the north's best known entertainment venues and attracts large crowds from across counties Antrim, Derry and Tyrone.

The woman said her daughter and two friends, aged 13 and 14, "feared they would have been crushed" if it had not been for the actions of a security guard who "pushed them out into a smoking area and got a system in place of people coming in and out".

"I think this guy honestly saved my daughter and her friends," she said.

The mother, who did not want to be named, said that the teenagers complained that "far, far too many people (were) let in".

"Something's gone wrong here," she said. "Especially with it being a ticketed event, they need to look at ticket sales."

The mother said she was nervous about allowing her young daughter to attend the disco "with events that happened at Greenvale".

"(It was) a very scary situation indeed," she said.

She said she wanted to speak out "before another tragedy happens".

On Twitter, another mother said her teenage child said the event was "scary" and had to get "outside for air."

Another Teenelk event is planned for Friday November 19.

Police said they have received several reports of potential overcrowding at the premises on Hillhead Road in Toomebridge.

“Subsequent enquiries suggest these reports may refer to an event which took place several days beforehand, on Friday 5th November," a spokesman said.

“Upon receipt of these reports, police have been working with partners and other statutory agencies in respect of a multi-agency approach to the concerns raised.

“Keeping people safe remains our priority and anyone with concerns about public safety or potentially dangerous overcrowding should contact the police immediately.”

The Elk was contacted for comment.

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