The NI Ambulance Service has responded to criticism over its response to Saturday’s horrific accident at Inver Park.
Larne FC midfielder Scott Irvine suffered serious head injuries when he collided with a perimeter wall during his side’s Irish Cup derby against Carrick Rangers.
Speaking on the Nolan radio show on Monday morning, Larne FC chairman Archie Smyth expressed his dissatisfaction with the time it took for an ambulance to arrive on the scene.
Mr Smyth said a rapid response vehicle had been on site within five-10 minutes, and claimed an ambulance had taken 30 minutes to arrive.
He added: “We were told the ambulance was coming from Whiteabbey. I can’t understand how a town like Larne has to get an ambulance to come from as far away as Whiteabbey. It would be quicker coming from Belfast.”
However, NI Ambulance spokesman said the response times quoted by Mr Smyth were incorrect.
He explained that while Larne has its own ambulance station, crews will occasionally respond to calls from outside the area.
Mr McPoland added that a rapid response vehicle had arrived at Inver Park within three minutes of the call being made.
Further, he told the Nolan show that the ambulance had arrived on scene within 21 minutes, not 30 minutes as Mr Smyth had claimed.
Mr McPoland went on to explain why the injured Irvine was not removed from the scene of the accident until about 45 minutes after the ambulance had arrived.
“Because of the nature of the patient’s injuries, paramedics on the ground made the decision to take their time and ensure they would not be making his conditon worse by moving him,” he added.
Larne manager David McAlinden has paid tribute to the work of club physiotherapist Joe Crawford, as well as two off-duty paramedics who came forward to offer help immediately after the accident. It is understood the paramedics were Carrick supporters.
“They were outstanding and we cant thank them enough,” the Larne boss said.