Following a landslide at Long Tower Roman Catholic Cemetery in Londonderry yesterday, when the east wall and 100 tons of earth, with tombstones, coffins and human bones, fell into the street, it was feared that some persons might have been buried alive. No-one, however, has been reported missing.
Shortly before the fall a heavy shower of rain fell, and a number of children and other pedestrians took shelter. It is believed that but for this some persons would have been buried.
Hundreds of people from districts outside Derry visited the scene last night, swelling the great crowd of citizens who were attracted to the place. Long Tower Street was barricaded, and a large force of police was on duty.
The burial ground, for a distance of 60 yards by 17 yards wide, came down like an avalanche on to the street below. A piece of flying tombstone struck and injured a passerby, James McCloskey.
About a score of graves were dislodged, and coffins and tombstones were smashed, while bones were scattered about. These were placed in a large box and re-interred last night.
In an interview, George Dorman said he was passing the graveyard when he saw a crack in the wall. In an instant he heard a terrific crash. The whole graveyard wall at that end gave way, and tombstones toppled on to the street below.
Steps were taken last night to prevent any further subsidence in the embankment, and it is hoped to clear the roadway for traffic today.
The affected part of the graveyard is two centuries old and some tombstones smashed were dated back over 100 years. The last burial was that of a priest several years ago. Amongst those buried in the graveyard are St Alban, St Maurice, and the Blessed Edwina, Queen of Munster.