Love Parade turns deadly

DUISBURG, Germany – A stampede inside a tunnel crowded with techno music fans left 15
people dead and dozens injured at the famed Love Parade festival in western
Germany on Saturday.

Other revellers initially kept partying at the event in
Duisburg, near Duesseldorf, unaware of the deadly panic that started when
police tried to prevent thousands more from entering the already-jammed parade
grounds.

Authorities were still trying to determine exactly what
happened at the event, which drew hundreds of thousands of people, but the
situation was “very chaotic,” police commissioner Juergen Kieskemper
said.

Emergency workers had trouble getting to the victims in the
wide, 500- to 600-yard tunnel that led to the grounds. The area around the
tunnel was a hectic scene, with bodies lying on the ground as rescue workers
rushed to aid them. Many of the injured were loaded into Red Cross vans and
driven away.

Police closed off the area where the parade was being held
because it was already overcrowded. They told revellers over loudspeakers to
turn around and walk back in the other direction before the panic broke out, he
said.

Duisburg city officials decided at a crisis meeting to let
the parade go on to prevent more panic and another stampede, said city
spokesman Frank Kopatschek.

Police said the fatalities included nine women and six men.

It is the worst accident of its kind since nine people were
crushed to death and 43 more were injured at a rock festival in Roskilde,
Denmark, in 2000. That fatal accident occurred when a huge crowd pushed forward
during a Pearl Jam gig.

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