Six killed in crush ‘af­ter pep­per spray fired’ in packed Ital­ian club

The Sunday Telegraph - - World news - By Raf Sanchez

FIVE teenagers and a 39-year-old mother were crushed to death in a stam­pede af­ter some­one al­legedly fired pep­per spray in a crowded Ital­ian night­club yes­ter­day.

The six vic­tims died near the exit of the Blue Lantern disco in Cori­naldo, about 90 miles east of Florence.

Their skulls were re­ported to have been crushed.

An­other 53 peo­ple were in­jured in the panic at about 1am, with 13 said to be in se­ri­ous con­di­tion.

Video showed a low wall in­side the club ap­pear­ing to give way, send­ing teenagers cas­cad­ing over it and fall­ing on top of each other.

The dead teenagers – three girls and two boys – were aged be­tween 14 and 16. The mother who was killed had brought her daugh­ter to a rap con­cert at the club.

Doc­tors in nearby An­cona said the most crit­i­cally in­jured, all be­tween 14 and 20, had head and chest in­juries.

Club­go­ers have re­ported that the panic started when their eyes be­gan to sting.

Lo­cal me­dia say that some­one in the crowd re­leased pep­per spray, per­haps dur­ing a fight or as part of a rob­bery.

“The cause may have been the dis­per­sal of a sting­ing sub­stance. The young peo­ple fled and tram­pled over each other,” the fire ser­vice said in a state­ment.

The Blue Lantern ap­peared to be over­crowded, which may have con­trib­uted to the chaos, ac­cord­ing to Mat­teo Salvini, the Ital­ian in­te­rior minister.

Lo­cal pros­e­cu­tors said that the venue had sold 1,400 tick­ets but it had a ca­pac­ity of only 870.

Mr Salvini vowed that au­thor­i­ties would pros­e­cute who­ever was re­spon­si­ble, say­ing they “trans­formed an evening of par­ty­ing into tragedy”.

The crowds had gath­ered to see Sfera Eb­basta, an Ital­ian rap­per, but the stam­pede took place shortly be­fore he was due to take the stage.

Mr Eb­basta wrote on Twit­ter that he was “deeply pained” by the tragedy, thanked res­cuers and of­fered his “af­fec­tion and sup­port” to the fam­i­lies of the dead and the in­jured.

At the Vat­i­can, Pope Fran­cis bowed his head in silent prayer af­ter he told some 30,000 pil­grims and tourists in St Peter’s Square that he was pray­ing “for the young peo­ple and the mama” as well as for the many peo­ple in­jured at the con­cert.

Ser­gio Mattarella, Italy’s pres­i­dent, de­manded that a “full light be shone on what hap­pened, as­cer­tain­ing any re­spon­si­bil­ity and negligence”.

Res­cue ser­vice work­ers tend to the in­jured at the en­trance to the Blue Lantern club

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.