"Absolutely devastating" - At least seven people dead after petrol station explosion in Donegal
The search and recovery for further fatalities continues.
At least seven people have died after an "absolutely devastating" explosion at a petrol station in Donegal.
The incident occurred on Friday (7 October) at around 3.20pm at the Applegreen Service Station in Creeslough.
In a statement on Saturday morning, Gardaí said there have been seven confirmed fatalities as a result of the blast.
Three of the fatalities were confirmed on Friday night, while four were confirmed overnight.
Meanwhile, eight people have been transferred to hospital for medical attention.
An Garda Síochána said they remain at the scene - alongside Donegal County Council Fire Services, the HSE National Ambulance Service and Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service - for a "search and recovery" operation.
"The search and recovery for further fatalities continues," a Garda spokesperson stated.
Gardaí also continue to request that any road users intending to travel to the Creeslough area for any reason consider alternative routes as emergency services continue to deal with the incident.
Traffic diversions remain in place at this time.
Speaking to RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Taoiseach Micheál Martin described the explosion as "absolutely devastating" and "shocking".
"Our sympathies and our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives and those who have been injured, to the entire community," he told the programme.
"Communities are what, I think, defines our people and we're witnessing a terrible, terrible tragedy on a wonderful community in Creeslough.
"Our thoughts and our prayers are with them."
The Taoiseach said the Government will ensure that "all the services of the State will be there for the people and the community" in the times ahead.
He also stated that there are expected to be further confirmed fatalities.
"There will be more is what we are being told. It's a search operation now," Martin said.
Meanwhile, President Michael D. Higgins issued a statement in which he expressed "the shock shared by all people throughout the country" on learning of the tragedy in Creeslough.
"All of our thoughts must go out to all of those who have been affected. 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," he said.
"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.
"Special tribute must be paid to those members of the local community and emergency services across the island who have reacted so swiftly to the scene of the explosion and have continued to work through the night.
"All of our best thoughts and prayers go to those who have lost their lives and their families.
"Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha.”
Main image via Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie