Saudi bargain-hunters killed in Ikea stampede

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The Independent Online

A stampede at a branch of the furniture and lifestyle superstore Ikea in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, ended with three people being crushed to death yesterday.

A stampede at a branch of the furniture and lifestyle superstore Ikea in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, ended with three people being crushed to death yesterday.

Three men were trampled in the rush to claim vouchers at the opening of the first of a new style of Ikea showroom; 16 shoppers were injured. Medics revived some 20 more who had fainted.

The rush was triggered by an offer for the first 50 shoppers to receive $150 (£84) in vouchers. An Ikea statement said more than 20,000 people showed up. Hospital officials said a Pakistani and a Saudi died. The nationality of the third person killed was not given.

More than 8,000 had gathered near the store for the vouchers, some of them having camped overnight. One shopper among the crowd said barriers had broken and security guards were unable to cope. He likened the scene to crowds at a rock concert and said he'd never seen anything similar in the country.

The Ikea statement said the company had worked closely with Saudi security officials to plan the opening.

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