Omagh Aftermath: Prince Charles flies in to see bomb survivors

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The Independent Online
THE PRINCE of Wales yesterday visited the stricken town of Omagh and described how last weekend's terrorist atrocity brought back memories of the murder of his uncle, Lord Mountbatten.

Prince Charles, the first member of the Royal Family to visit Omagh since the bomb attack which killed 28 people, said he was "appalled and shattered" by the "awful horrors".

The visit, which was organised at short notice, is believed to have followed the Prince's desire to offer his condolences in person to the town that had experienced the worst bomb attack in the history of the Troubles.

The Prince flew to Omagh with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mo Mowlam, from RAF Aldergrove, and visited the scene of the devastating blast to lay a wreath.

Afterwards, he went to Tyrone General Hospital where many of the wounded were being treated. He also spoke to members of the emergency services, soldiers, doctors and nurses who helped in the aftermath of last Saturday's bomb.

The Prince said that he had some empathy with the suffering because of his own experience of the assassination by the IRA in 1979 of Lord Mountbatten, to whom he was particularly close.

The Prince said during a visit to army barracks in the city: "I am shattered and horrified and the least I can do is to come here and offer my sympathy and support, especially to those who have the worst of the burden in looking after people.

"My memory goes back to 19 years ago when Lord Mountbatten was killed, so I do have some understanding of the awful horrors that people have to put up with."

Afterwards, during a walkabout in the town centre, Prince Charles met Joy Canley, whose face was cut by flying glass during the blast and repeated his memories of the death of Lord Mountbatten.

Mrs Canley said: "He asked about my injuries and then asked if I knew anyone else who had been hurt.

"I told him that my cousin's wife had died. He said he understood how people around here felt because he felt the same way after the death of Lord Mountbatten."

On the way into Omagh, Prince Charles met a group of Spanish children who also been injured in the bomb attack and was greeted by the Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Francisco Alvarez-Cascos, who arrived in Northern Ireland on Monday to be with the relations of the injured and the dead.

Lieutenant Colonel David James, commanding officer of the First Battalion the Queens Lancashire Regiment, briefed Prince Charles on the rescue operation and later described how his soldiers helped in the rescue.