11 April 2006

Mum's horror as Irish dancers poisoned

Belfast Telegraph

By Linda McKee
11 April 2006

The mother of two champion Irish dancers told today how they were rushed to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning following a suspected gas leak at a Belfast hotel.

The young performers had just arrived from the USA and were due to perform in the prestigious World Irish Dancing Championships at the Waterfront Hall.

Two girls from a second family were also believed to have been hospitalised following the incident.

Eileen Hobson, from Tooland, Connecticut, told today how she watched as her son and daughter passed out in front of her, overcome by fumes in their room at the Ramada Hotel.

Son Tim (15), and daughter Sarah (19), are regular contenders at the World Irish Dancing Championships, but will have to withdraw this year and return home.

"I felt I was unwell and nauseous," Eileen said.

"My son collapsed and fell against the door of the room. I felt like I was passing out.

"I couldn't open the door because my son was lying against it."

Eileen said she alerted hotel staff and the family were rushed to casualty at Belfast City Hospital. She was full of praise for the "exemplary care" the family received there.

The Ramada Hotel did not comment.

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