Former Miss Cork narrowly avoids serious injury at Longitude

Model Katie O’Donoghue unable to work after being struck with glass bottle

 

A young model from Cork narrowly avoided a serious eye injury after she was struck on the head by a glass bottle at the Longitude music festival in Dublin last Friday.

Katie O’Donoghue (24) was left with nine stitches on her forehead after a glass beer bottle was thrown through the crowd at the Stormzy headline gig in Marlay Park on Friday. The former Miss Cork, who has been working as a model since she was 18, says the swelling to her head and scarring from the incident means she will be unable to work in the industry for the foreseeable future.

“I went to Electric Picnic last year and have been to festivals abroad but never thought anything like this could happen. I have no idea who threw the bottle. I’m still getting headaches on and off, so I’m taking painkillers. I’m so embarrassed about it. It’s very difficult.”

Ms O’Donoghue said she was about 100m back from the stage when a glass beer bottle flew through the air and struck her head. Her boyfriend didn’t realise the extent of the injury until he picked her up off the ground. “There was so much blood and I couldn’t see anything out my eye. My boyfriend didn’t realise it was a glass bottle until he saw the blood gushing on to his clothes.”

“He hoisted me over the barrier to the paramedics, and they tried to strap up the wound, but the blood was oozing out so they brought me to the medical tent. I spent almost two hours getting cleaned up and got nine stitches.”

On edge

Ms O’Donoghue, who was staying in Dublin on Friday night, returned to the festival the following day to get a new dressing for the wound.

“[The doctor] told me there would be seepage overnight and that I should come back tomorrow. I only went back to see the doctor and stayed in the disabled area after because I didn’t want to be near the crowd. I was too on-edge to enjoy myself, it put a sour note on everything.”

Ms O’Donoghue, who is from Bishopstown in Cork, says she would be reluctant to return to Longitude in the future. “At this time I wouldn’t consider going back as I don’t want to risk the chance of having something like this happen to me again.”

She contacted her modelling agent in Dublin following the incident to explain that she would be unable to work in the coming weeks. A plastic surgeon in Cork has told her nothing can be done to reduce the scar for 18-24 months. “We have to wait to see the full extent of the scar and what kind of mark it will leave. I wouldn’t be in a position to work right now with the stitches and swelling across my forehead.

Festival Republic managing director Melvin Been said the festival was aware a woman had sustained an injury on Friday night and that she had been treated on site by a medical team before returning on Saturday for a further check-up.

“We are pleased to learn the woman’s injury did not prevent her from watching Saturday night’s headline act The Weekend who came on stage later that evening at 9.30pm” he said.

“We wish the woman a speedy recovery and will continue to assist An Garda Síochána with their investigation surrounding the circumstances of this incident, and therefore we cannot comment further as to do so, could impede such an investigation.”

Mr Benn added that security measures at all festivals were carried out in consultation with an Garda Síochána based on “intelligence, risk and safety assessments”.

The organisers of the three-day festival also issued an apology over the weekend after festival-goers complained of long delays and tightly packed and “overcrowded” queues at entrances. Some attendees had complained on social media of “overcrowding” and “crushes” in the queues.Mr Benn apologised for the delays and crowds and said there were “no incidents of any broken arms, legs or any major incidents” from the queues on Friday.