Stampede at German music festival kills nineteen

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

A stampede at the entrance of a German music festival, the Love Parade, today killed nineteen people and injured around a hundred more.

The incident apparently took place due to overcrowding at the entrance to the grounds of the event, located in Duisburg, Germany, which more than a million people were reported to have attended. Despite warnings by police of overcrowding, more people tried to enter the grounds. There is speculation that the panic may have begun when people fell after trying to cross a barrier, and subsequently spread.

Witness Udo Sandhoefer said that people "climbed up the walls and tried somehow to get into the grounds from the side, and the people in the crowd that moved up simply ran over those who were lying on the ground."

Emergency responders apparently encountered difficulties in reaching those in need of assistance due to the number of people in the area. Officials also decided not to evacuate the grounds of the event, citing concerns that a larger panic would be sparked if more people knew of the deaths.

A woman attending the event said that "[t]here were piles of injured on the ground, some being resuscitated, others dead and covered with sheets. It was way too full in the afternoon, everybody wanted to get in."

A statement from president Christian Wulff said that "[i]t is terrible that such a catastrophe brought death, suffering and pain to a peaceful festival full of happy young people from many countries."

The mayor of Duisburg, Adolf Sauerland, said that security measures at the event were sufficient, and that an investigation into the incident was already under way.