Police search for causes of German festival stampede

July 25th, 2010 - 5:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Duisburg (Germany), July 25 (DPA) Police in the city of Duisburg Sunday began searching for the exact causes of a mass panic in a tunnel at the Love Parade music event, in which 19 people died.
Officials said the number of injured now stood at 342, some of whom were in a serious condition.

Panic broke out around 5 p.m. Saturday when a tunnel leading to the electronic music festival attended by over one million people became over-filled.

People were trampled to death and crushed in the crowd, police said.

Witnesses said how more people, some drunk, attempted to get into the festival grounds by walking through the tunnel that led under a motorway and up to the former goods railway station where the massive party was taking place.

Sixteen people had died on the scene when the crowd panicked. More victims died later in hospital. The festival grounds were reportedly closed off at the time of the crush due to the high number of people already inside.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her sorrow and shock at the fatal accident.

“In these difficult hours my thoughts are with the relatives of the victims. My sympathies and my sorrows go out to them,” the chancellor said.

“The young people came to celebrate, instead there were deaths and injuries. I am appalled and distressed at the suffering and pain,” she said.

The Love Parade, one of the world’s largest electronic music events, had been founded in Berlin in 1989 as a peace parade shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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