Northern Ireland

Man attempts to hijack ambulance in Belfast city centre

A man tried to hijack an ambulance in Belfast city centre while two paramedics were in the back of the vehicle treating a patient.

It happened in Union Street on Wednesday night.

A security device prevented the man from driving the ambulance away, but a bottle was thrown at the vehicle as the crew prepared to take the patient to hospital.

The paramedics were shaken but uninjured.

John McPoland from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said it was "beyond words" that someone would try to hijack an ambulance while paramedics were in the back treating a patient.

"Thankfully because of the security device that we have on the vehicles, once the handbrake is released without the keys in the ignition, that vehicle will cut out and not move anywhere," he said.

He said the man then got out of the vehicle and ran away.

"The incident didn't finish there because as the crew finished treating the patient and were taking him to the Royal Victoria Hospital, a bottle was thrown at the vehicle and smashed against the side of it," added Mr McPoland.

"It is very, very rare, but it does give an indication of what our paramedics faced on Wednesday night."

Mr McPoland said the patient had suffered serious burn injuries to his hand after a lighter exploded in his hand.

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