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Stampede at German Love Parade festival kills 15

Love Parade electronic music festival in the German city of Duisburg, 24 July
Organisers had said they expected more than one million people to attend

 

July 24, 2010

(KATAKAMI / BBC)    At least 15 people have been killed at the Love Parade electronic music festival in the German city of Duisburg, police have said.Police had been trying to stop people reaching the parade area because of overcrowding.

But the revellers panicked at a tunnel entrance. About 100 people were also injured, dozens seriously.

Organisers had said they expected more than one million people to attend the event.

Event continues

The stampede occurred at about 1700 local time (1500 GMT).

Love Parade

Duisburg police initially reported 10 deaths but later raised the toll to 15.

At least 10 people were resuscitated at the scene.

Reuters news agency quoted police commissioner Juergen Kieskemper as saying the situation had become “very chaotic”.

He said police closed the parade area due to overcrowding. Those trying to get in were told via loudhailer to turn around, but panic broke out.

A number of eyewitnesses say police were warned of a huge crowd build-up and some report seeing dozens of people piled up on one another, the BBC’s Tristana Moore in Germany says.

Emergency workers reportedly had difficulty reaching those crushed.

One festival-goer, named Marius, told the Bild newspaper: “There was no escape. People were pressed into the wall. I was afraid I’d die.”

Map

Another man told local television: “The pressure from behind become so high that… we couldn’t do anything any more. People were just pushed together until they fell over.”

Police closed off an elevated motorway bridge to allow helicopters to land and evacuate victims.

City officials were said to have chosen not to evacuate the grounds of the day-long festival immediately, fearing it might spark more panic.

City spokesman Frank Kopatschek said: “The crisis meeting determined not to stop the event because at the moment there are too many people on the grounds.”

Many of those attending appeared unaware of what had happened.

The event attracts music fans from all over the world, with floats from Brazil, Russia, the Netherlands, Spain and Australia among other nations.

The floats had been expected to parade through the city for 10 hours.

Many top international DJs also perform.

The event began in Berlin in 1989 as a peace demonstration and developed into a huge open-air music festival.

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