Tuesday 17 September 2019

Six killed in stampede at nightclub in Italy

Five teenagers were among those who died at a disco in the town of Corinaldo, near Ancona.

Police in front of the disco (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Police in front of the disco (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

By Frances D'Emilio, Associated Press

A stampede at a concert in an overcrowded nightclub on Italy’s central Adriatic coast has killed five teenagers and a woman who had accompanied her daughter to the event, police said.

Video taken outside the venue in the town of Corinaldo, near Ancona, showed scores of teenagers rushing out of a door and surging towards a low railing or wall near the exit.

The barrier appeared to give way and a cascade of teenagers tumbled over it, falling on top of each other.

The “giving way of two parapets due to the crush of the young people getting out” probably caused the tragedy, interior minister Matteo Salvini told RAI.

The bodies of the victims were found near a low wall close to an exit, firefighters’ spokesman Dino Poggiali earlier told Sky TG24 News. News reports said the wall was about 3ft to 5ft high.

Overcrowding was also suspected.

Ancona chief prosecutor Monica Garulli told reporters at the scene: “The number of tickets sold is about 1,400, compared to a capacity of about 870.”

Rescuers outside the nightclub in Corinaldo (Stefano Pagliarini/Ancona Today/AP)

Mr Salvini said it was “probably true that there were … more people inside than was permissible”.

State radio said about 1,000 people were in the disco when the stampede erupted.

Mr Carrozza said the dead teenagers – three girls and two boys – were aged 14 to 16 and the woman was 39. Of the 59 who were injured, 13 were in serious condition, he said.

The radio report said most of the fatalities suffered crushed skulls.

Italian media said the woman who was killed had gone with her daughter to the Lanterna Azzurra disco where rapper Sfera Ebbasta was set to perform.

Ansa had earlier reported that someone had sprayed an irritant, which triggered the panic. Mr Salvini said there possibly was a “stink” of something that could have been ammonia or another substance.

Police check the rear entrance of the disco (Andrew Medichini/AP)

Some survivors were quoted by Italian media as saying at least one fire exit was blocked when concertgoers tried to get out, but Mr Salvini said initial investigation “appears to knock down that possibility”.

Mr Poggiali said it was too early to know if any safety violations might have played a role. He said that when rescuers arrived, all the doors were open.

He did not have any 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 added.

Mr Salvini vowed that responsibility would be determined for the “six broken lives — whoever out of nastiness, stupidity or greed transformed an evening of partying into tragedy”.

President Sergio Mattarella demanded “full light be shone on what happened, ascertaining any responsibility and negligence”.

“Citizens have the right to safety wherever they are, in workplaces as well as places of entertainment,” Mr Mattarella said in a statement. “Safety must be assured with special commitment in places where crowds gather, through rigorous inspection and checks. One cannot die this way.”

PA Media

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