Six dead, dozens hurt in Italy night­club stam­pede

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Cori­naldo, Italy - Six peo­ple, in­clud­ing five teenagers, died and 120 were in­jured in a stam­pede when panic broke out dur­ing a rap con­cert at a packed Ital­ian night­club early Satur­day.

The sus­pected use of a pep­per spray-like sub­stance is thought to have sparked the chaos at the venue in the town of Cori­naldo, near An­cona in cen­tral Italy, the fire ser­vice said in a state­ment on Twit­ter.

But cara­binieri po­lice spokesman Cris­tian Car­rozza later said they were still ‘try­ing to as­cer­tain what had caused the youths to rush out’, ad­ding, “There are three ex­its and one of these was used.”

The vic­tims in­clude three girls and two boys aged be­tween 14 and 16 and a 39 year old woman who ac­com­pa­nied her daugh­ter to the con­cert.

Some ten peo­ple are in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion, doc­tors said, with at least 120 in­jured in total.

“Around 1,400 tick­ets were sold for the con­cert and the place could only ac­com­mo­date 870 peo­ple,” said Mon­ica Garulli from the pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice in An­cona. The exit used led to a small bridge and the car park. The force of the flee­ing crowd made a rail­ing col­lapse and dozens of peo­ple fell, crush­ing those at the bot­tom of the pile, ac­cord­ing to a pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Grainy mo­bile phone footage ap­peared to show part of a walk­way collapsing, send­ing dozens of peo­ple tum­bling down.

Iron­i­cally, those who re- mained in­side the night­club were un­harmed.

“We were danc­ing and wait­ing for the con­cert to start when we smelt this pun­gent odour,” a 16 year old boy who was taken to hos­pi­tal told the me­dia. “We ran to one of the emer­gency ex­its but we found it blocked, the bounc­ers told us to go back.”

A pile of aban­doned shoes tes­ti­fied to the chaos, with sur­vivors and the be­reaved weep­ing out­side the night­club as emer­gency ve­hi­cles tended to the in­jured, lo­cal news­pa­per An­cona To­day re­ported.

“It can’t be! You can’t die like that. Wake up Mat­tia, I beg you,” one un­named woman cried as she knelt by her son’s body, the pa­per said. The crowd at the Lan­terna Az­zurra (Blue Lantern) club was at­tend­ing a per­for­mance by Ital­ian rap­per Sfera Eb­basta, known as ‘the king of the trap’ for his style of Hip Hop.

‘I’m deeply sad­dened by what hap­pened’, Eb­basta said on In­sta­gram. ‘I don’t want to pass judge­ment on who is re­sponsi- ble, but I would just like to ask ev­ery­one to stop and think how dan­ger­ous and stupid it can be to use pep­per spray in a night­club’, he said, can­celling all his up­com­ing pro­mo­tional events.

Pope Fran­cis said dur­ing Satur­day’s An­gelus prayers that he would pray for ‘the chil­dren and the mother who died last night... as well as for the in­jured’.

The ac­ci­dent hap­pened at around 1am (0000 GMT).

‘Usu­ally one doesn’t hear any noise, one hardly hears the mu­sic but one hears the laugh­ter of the youths when they ar­rive or leave’ the club, said Ines Pa­trig­nani, who lives in an ad­join­ing house.

“But this morn­ing, I was wo­ken by the sounds of cries and sob­bing,” the 86 year old said.

The in­jured were taken to hos­pi­tal in the nearby town of Seni­gal­lia and the most se­ri­ous on to An­cona.

“You can’t die like this at 15,” said far-right In­te­rior Minister Mat­teo Salvini, promis­ing to ‘find those re­spon­si­ble for these six bro­ken lives, those who through wicked­ness, stu­pid­ity or greed turned a fes­tive evening into a tragedy’. His anti-im­mi­grant League party is to hold a minute’s si­lence dur­ing a pre­vi­ously planned rally in Rome.

In 2017, a woman died and 1,500 were in­jured in a crush dur­ing the out­door broad­cast in Turin of a Cham­pi­ons League foot­ball match fi­nal when ru­mours of a bomb­ing sparked panic.

(AFP)

Po­lice of­fi­cers in front of the en­trance of the Lan­terna Az­zurra con­cert hall in Cori­naldo on Satur­day

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