6 dead in Italy nightclub stampede
At least six people died and dozens were injured in a stampede when panic broke out during a rap concert at an Italian nightclub early Saturday.
Media reports said the suspected use of a pepper spray-like substance sparked the chaos at the venue in the town of Corinaldo in central Italy.
“The cause may have been the dispersal of a stinging substance, the young people fled and trampled over each other. Sadly, six people died and dozens are injured,” the fire service said in a statement on Twitter.
The victims include five people under the age of 18 — three girls and two boys — and an adult woman who accompanied her daughter to the concert.
Local fire chief Dino Pog- giali said that 14 of the injured were in a critical condition, and 40 less serious.
As the crowd panicked, people ran for the three emergency exits, one of which led to a small bridge and the car park, according to a preliminary investigation.
The force of the fleeing crowd made a railing collapse and dozens of people fell, crushing those below to death.
A pile of abandoned shoes testified to the chaos of the stampede, 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 accident happened at around 1 a.m.
“We were dancing and waiting for the concert to start when we smelt this pungent odour,” a 16year-old boy who was taken to hospital told the media.