19 Killed In Love Parade Crush

Stampede At Festival in Duisburg


German chancellor Angela Merkel has said there is to be an "intense" investigation into the deaths of 19 people at the Love Parade festival.

The news came as witnesses said police and security staff were to blame for the stampede at the festival in Duisburg, Germany.

A mass panic broke out at the festival on Saturday, which up to 1.4 million people were said to have attended, leading to 19 people being killed and 342 being injured.

According to police, the organisers and officials in Duisburg were at fault for the incident at the festival, which has been held in the city since overcrowding and noise drove it away from its original Berlin home.

However, witnesses attributed blame to police and private security staff. They said panic broke out after the end of a tunnel - the only entrance to the festival grounds - was shut when the venue became too full.

Police denied that and said they actually opened a second exit to disperse the masses before the accident happened.

Throngs of techno fans had followed the floats, dancers and the throbbing music to the festival venue - an old freight railway station that local media estimated could handle 300,000 people.

It remained unclear what exactly triggered the panic, but it appeared that several people trying to escape the pushing crowds climbed up a steep metal stairway on a ramp in front of the tunnel and fell into the crowd.

Amateur video footage showed thousands of festival-goers crammed wall to wall, with some trying desperately to climb out.

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Clive Garner, head of the Travel Law Team at Irwin Mitchell said: "Our thoughts are with those who were injured and the families of those who so sadly lost their lives at the festival.

"While it is too early to say exactly what caused the stampede, many people have criticised the decision to have only one entrance to the festival site.  It should have been envisaged that many hundreds of thousands of people would attend the festival, but initial reports suggest that the arrangements for entry to and exit from the site were wholly inadequate.

"We are pleased to hear that there will be an investigation into this tragic incident.  Only in this way will the questions raised by the families of all of the victims be answered.  As well as ensuring that justice is done for all of the victims and their families, it is vitally important that lessons are learned to reduce the risk of similar events occurring in the future."