ENNISKILLEN, Northern Ireland — Prince Charles and Princess Diana made a surprise visit to Enniskillen today to comfort survivors of an IRA bomb blast that killed 11 people and injured 63 during a memorial service for British war dead.
Heavy security surrounded the royal couple as they flew into Enniskillen in an army helicopter for a two-hour visit.
The couple also met with ambulance drivers, firemen, soldiers and police who dug the victims out of the rubble.
Hundreds of police were on guard, bomb disposal experts checked the area and motorists were stopped and questioned as they drove into the town of 13,000 in the west of Northern Ireland.
Crowds Cheer Couple
Despite the short notice--patients had only a few minutes' warning of the visit--large crowds gathered behind barricades outside Erne Hospital to cheer the couple.
Charles and Diana also went to the Ulster Defense Regiment base at St. Angelo airport outside Enniskillen to meet relatives of the 11 dead, including Gordon Wilson, who has become a symbol of fortitude with his moving accounts of how his 20-year-old daughter, Marie, died holding his hand.
"The visit has helped me enormously. Princess Diana is a really lovely girl," said Wilson, 60.
His daughter Julie Ann, 25, said: "It was lovely just to know they cared. If it has hit the Royal Family, it will do some good. We are very honored indeed."