Children killed in concert crowd crush

Click to follow
The Independent US

Eight children were trampled to death and at least three adults crushed in a stampede to see local television celebrities and beauty queens at a concert in Valencia, west of the Venezuelan capital, Caracas.

Eight children were trampled to death and at least three adults crushed in a stampede to see local television celebrities and beauty queens at a concert in Valencia, west of the Venezuelan capital, Caracas.

At least 60 people were injured when the crowd panicked on Sunday after city policemen fired warning shots to try to control the disorder.

One witness said fans clambered over temporary barricades to enter the Plaza monumental bullring and triggered the chaos, then hundreds of people attempted to force their way into the packed ring. To ease the shoving, doors were unlocked early but women and children were knocked over as the crowd pressed ahead into the arena.

Police estimated that 30,000 spectators were trying to squeeze into the confined space, at least 3,000 more people than there were seats in the venue, for a beauty show and concert that has become the annual social highlight of the city, 100 miles west of Caracas. A platoon of national guardsmen supplemented 400 police guards, but the excited crowds proved uncontrollable.

Rafael David Loaiza, a local civil defence official, said many small children were trampled to death at the entrance. "Apparently, children were at the front and the adults started to shove and they didn't stop even when people fell down." But a teenage girl who was caught in the crush gave a different account. "We were just waiting normally to get in and the municipal police started to fire into the air ... People weren't doing anything," she said

When word of the calamity spread, dozens of parents gathered at the bullring. Although the beauty pageant was cancelled as a mark of respect, organisers declared that the show must go on, and broadcast the concert live only hours after the deaths.

Comments