The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said in a statement on Monday, December 26 that the road traffic collision in Cookstown, Co Tyrone resulted in three fatalities.
Chief Superintendent Gerard Pollock said: “Officers, along with colleagues from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service attended a two-vehicle collision in the Dungannon Road shortly after 3:30 pm.
“The drivers of the vehicles, a woman in her 80s and a man in his 20s, tragically died as a result of the collision along with a woman in her 50s who was a passenger in one of the vehicles.
“Four children and a woman in her 20s were taken to hospital, where they remain.”
Pollock added: “An investigation led by specialist investigators from the Collisions Investigation Unit has been commenced and I am appealing to anyone who was in the area at the time who may have witnessed the collision or who has dash-cam footage or any other information to contact police on 101 quoting reference number 957 as of 26/12/2022. You can also report online at www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/.
Police can confirm that three people have died following a road traffic collision in Cookstown today. pic.twitter.com/D0uCVdTPBW— NI Road Policing and Safety (@NIRoadPolicing) December 26, 2022
A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said: "Following assessment and initial treatment at the scene, four patients were taken to Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children and another patient was taken by ambulance to the Royal Victoria Hospital."
Politicians across Northern Ireland offered their sympathies upon the tragedy.
SDLP Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone told PA: “The community is devastated this evening following news of a fatal collision on the Dungannon Road.
“This is the worst possible news any family could receive but particularly at this time of year.
“My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected at this incredibly difficult time.”
Michelle O'Neill, the vice president of Sinn Féin, offered her heartfelt sympathies:
My heartfelt sympathies to the families of those tragically killed and every best wish to those injured for a full recovery.https://t.co/g1y6qGGQQ5— Michelle O’Neill (@moneillsf) December 26, 2022
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, head of the DUP, said his thoughts and prayers are with the families impacted by the loss:
Our thoughts & prayers are with all involved in this tragic incident and the families & communities impacted by such a devastating loss. We also think of the emergency services who attended the scene and the health service staff caring for those injured. https://t.co/e9QXckVueE— Jeffrey Donaldson MP (@J_Donaldson_MP) December 26, 2022
Doug Beattie, leader of the UUP, said "life is so precious and so fragile:"
Heartbreaking news the day after Christmas.
I just can’t imagine the horror those who survived have endured and the scene faced by the emergency services.
Life is so precious and so fragile.
My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected. 🙏😔 https://t.co/nnW0B2VAJe— Doug Beattie (@BeattieDoug) December 26, 2022