Six people, all but one of them under the age of 18, have been killed in a stampede of panicked concertgoers at a disco in a small town on Italy’s central Adriatic coast, authorities say.
- The stampede occurred during a show by Italian rapper Sfera Ebbasta
- More than 50 people were injured, 14 of whom are in a serious condition
- A teenager said at least one of the emergency exists was locked but authorities say that possibility is unlikely
The Italian news agency ANSA earlier had reported that someone had sprayed an irritant, which triggered the panic.
Police chief Oreste Capocasa said those killed in the resulting rush to the doors included three girls, two boys and an adult woman — a mother who had accompanied her daughter to the Lanterna Azzurra nightclub in Corinaldo.
More than 50 other people were injured, 14 of whom were in serious condition.
The bodies of the trampled victims were all found near a low wall inside the disco, Ancona Firefighters Commander Dino Poggiali told Sky TG24 News.
“It was a mess. The bouncers were getting the persons out,” one unidentified witness told RAI state radio.
“I went out the main door. People fell, one after the other, on top of each other. Absurd.”
The incident occurred during a concert by Italian rapper Sfera Ebbasta, police said.
A 16-year-old boy told ANSA news agency disco patrons were dancing while waiting for the concert to start when the stampede erupted.
The boy, who was being treated at a hospital, said at least one of the emergency exits was locked when he tried to flee.
Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said the initial investigation “appears to knock down that possibility” that at least one fire exit was blocked.
Instead, he said, two parapets had apparently fallen down.
It was not immediately clear if that happened because of the stampede or was a cause of the stampede.
What is “probably true is that there were … more people inside than was permissible”, Mr Salvini said, without citing figures.
It was not immediately clear how many people were inside the club when the stampede erupted or what the venue’s maximum capacity is, but RAI state radio reported about 1,000 people were inside.
Mr Poggiali said it was too early in the investigation to know if any safety violations might have played a role.
He said that when rescuers arrived, all the doors were open.
Mr Salvini said there possibly was a “stink” that could have been ammonia or another substance, but Mr Poggiali said he did not have any immediate confirmation about use of any irritating spray.
Firefighters had concentrated on giving first aid to survivors, stretched out on the road outside the club, before starting their investigation, he said.
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