Dozen people injured in crowd crush after Christmas giveaway balloon drop

Shoppers treated for ‘traumatic chest injuries, neck and back pain,’ ambulance inspector says

Chiara Giordano
Tuesday 24 December 2019 12:50 GMT
Several people injured in crowd crush after Christmas giveaway balloon drop in Sydney

Five people have been taken to hospital after shoppers were crushed during a stampede at a Christmas giveaway balloon drop in Sydney.

Video footage showed people jostling for gold, silver and white balloons containing gift vouchers at Westfield Parramatta shopping centre on Monday night.

As the prizes were dropped at midnight, the crowd surged forward and shoppers were sent sprawling.

Jonathan Nott, who captured the incident on camera, said he was worried someone would get hurt as the crowd gathered, adding: "It did not look like a very safe area for a large crowd to scramble for balloons."

Paramedics called to the scene treated 12 people. Four men and one woman were taken to hospital.

New South Wales Ambulance Inspector Phil Templeman said: "Three of the transported patients had more serious issues including traumatic chest injuries, neck and back pain as well as nausea and dizziness.”

Scentre Group, which owns the Westfield chain in Australia, said it was investigating the incident.

A spokeswoman added: "The safety of our customers, retail partners and people is our priority.

"Our team acted swiftly to support our customers, contact emergency services and make the area safe.

“Our team are continuing to speak with affected customers directly."

Additional reporting by Reuters

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