herald

Wednesday 18 July 2018

'I thought it was a terror attack', says boxing hero

Olympic gold medallist Michael Carruth outside the church.
Olympic gold medallist Michael Carruth outside the church.

Irish Olympic boxing hero Michael Carruth's first thought on seeing a car plough into mourners outside a church was that it was a terrorist attack.

Carruth (50) was among those attending the funeral at the Immaculate Conception Church, Clondalkin, when the incident happened yesterday.

He was there for the funeral of a family friend.

Two people were in a serious condition in hospital last night and at least 13 suffered injuries in the accident.

Unintentional

It is understood the driver of the car lost control before crashing into people gathered outside the church at around 10.20am.

While it quickly emerged that the incident was unintentional, the thought of an attack had crossed Carruth's mind.

"A terrorist attack was my first concern, with everything that has been going on around Europe," he told the Herald.

"It was just crashing through the crowd and hitting people.

"Before I saw it, I actually thought the building's roof was falling down, it made so much noise. It was horrific."

Carruth, who won gold at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics as a welterweight, said his first instinct was to jump out of the way of the vehicle.

"We were just standing there waiting for the funeral to begin," he said.

"A car came from nowhere. It was stopped by a barrier. Thank God the barrier was there, because it could have hit more people.

"It came very close to us. It was so close, but we got away. It was just one of those things."

Carruth said everyone who was with his group escaped serious injury, expect one friend who injured his hand.

He added that his thoughts were with those who were not so lucky.

"There were a lot of people injured and two are critical. They'll be in our prayers for tonight," he said.

Carruth added that while the funeral did go ahead, it was several hours later than planned.

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