Northern Ireland

Heart attack response by friends of dead boy 'heroic'

Friends of a 16-year-old boy who died from a heart attack on the outskirts of west Belfast "acted like heroes," a local priest has said.

The teenager collapsed at a house in the White Glen area of Lagmore at about 2045 BST on Wednesday evening.

Father John Forsythe said his friends who were with him reacted admirably under pressure.

"These young boys in panic phoned the emergency services, and were given instructions on what to do," he said.

"They put him in the recovery position, gave him CPR, put water on his neck and tried everything to get him revived until the ambulance arrived.

"I couldn't believe young fellas today of only 16 or 17 could be so professional and concerned. It was a terribly traumatic experience for them."

Fr Forsythe, who is parish priest at the Church of Christ the Redeemer, said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the boy's death.

He said the boy's family had taken some comfort that a post-mortem examination confirmed his death was caused by a heart attack, because "there were wild rumours flying about the place with no substance at all".

The priest said the boys had spent the evening at a house watching television and messing about.

"There was a bit of horseplay and pretending to fight, as young boys would always do," he said.

"He went out to the kitchen and they heard a bang - they saw him lying on the floor, out cold, and they could do nothing to revive him so they phoned the emergency services.

"Afterwards there was a worry that the horseplay could have been the cause of this but it wasn't."

Fr Forsythe said the boy had recently finished his studies at De La Salle College and had hoped to begin a course in car mechanics in September.

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