2.1 Crowd Disasters

"We learn from history that we do not learn from history." George Hegel, philosopher.


The information on the website is for the specific purpose of collating reports of incidents to illustrate the common features associated with crowd safety. It serves us well to show that the failures in both design and management are NOT unique, that crowd "mis" behaviour is not always the primary cause of accidents and incidents. One of the common factors is the inappropriate utilisation of space. 

Sadly, we are constantly updating this Crowd Disasters page.  Students/Delegates - please see notes at the bottom of this page.

The analysis of crowd disasters shows that three key elements are generally the failure of Design, Information and/or Management systems. Click here for the DIM-ICE meta model of crowd influences and behaviours. Click here for 3D images of crowd density. Also see the page on "Crowd Crazing"We run workshops around the world highlighting the dangers of crowd and the most appropriate methods of planning and managing places of public assembly. 

Crowd Forces

"Crowd forces can reach levels that almost impossible to resist or control. Virtually all crowd deaths are due to compressive asphyxia and not the "trampling" reported by the news media. Evidence of bent steel railings after several fatal crowd incidents show that forces of more than 4500N (1,000lbs) occurred. Forces are due to pushing, and the domino effect of people leaning against each other.

"Compressive asphyxia has occurred from people being stacked up vertically, one on top of the other, or horizontal pushing and leaning forces. In the Ibrox Park soccer stadium incident, police reported that the pile of bodies was 3m (10ft) high. At this height, people on the bottom would experience chest pressures of 3600-4000N (800-900lbs), assuming half the weight of those above was concentrated in the upper body area.

"Horizontal forces sufficient to cause compressive asphyxia would be more dynamic as people push off against each other to obtain breathing space. In the Cincinnati rock concert incident, a line of bodies was found approximately 9m (30ft) from a wall near the entrance. This indicates that crowd pressures probably came from both directions as rear ranks pressed forward and front ranks pushed off the wall.

"Experiments to determine concentrated forces on guardrails due to leaning and pushing have shown that force of 30% to 75% of participant weight can occur. In a US National Bureau of Standards study of guardrails, three persons exerted a leaning force of 792N (178lbs) and 609N (137lbs) pushing. In a similar Australian Building Technology Centre study, three persons in a combined leaning an pushing posture developed a force of 1370N (306 lbs). This study showed that under a simulated "panic", 5 persons were capable of developing a force of 3430N (766lbs)."  From Fruin Causes and Prevention of Crowd Disasters

"There are many examples of poor, and even hazardous, human environments resulting from a lack of understanding of the traffic flow relationships and space requirements of pedestrians. A number of authorities have been using maximum pedestrian capacity as a basis for design. Yet, analysis of time-lapse photography of pedestrian traffic flow on walkways and stairs has shown that capacity is reached when there is a dense crowding of pedestrians, causing restricted and uncomfortable locomotion. Insufficient consideration of human space requirements has resulted in inadequate design of many areas where pedestrians may be required to accumulate in large groups. In some instances, overcrowding of these areas has resulted in injury and loss of life." Fruin. Pedestrian Planning and Design.

"I read your thesis and thought it was excellent, and a great contribution to the art. There should be many applications for your computer model....Wishing you great success with your endeavours. Sincerely, John Fruin 8th May 2002

Here are SOME of the crowd related disasters, around the world. There have been many more...

  • 1902 (April 5th) Glasgow, Scotland  25 killed and 517 injured when the West Stand at Ibrox Park collapses during an international between England and Scotland.
  • 1914 Hillsborough, Sheffield, 75 injured. Wall collapsed.
  • 1946 (March 9) Bolton, England. 33 people are killed and over 500 injured when a wall collapses at Burden Park before an English FA Cup match between Bolton Wanderers and Stoke City. The collapse crushes fans together and sparks a stampede.
  • 1955 (March 30) Santiago, Chile. Six died when 70,000 tried to jam into the stadium for the finals of the South American soccer tournament. Argentina beat Chile 1-0.
  • 1961 Ibrox, Glasgow. 2 dead, 35 injured. Wooden Barrier on Stairway 13 (Similar accidents occurred on that same stairway in 1967 and 1969. Indeed, the 1969 event took place exactly two years to the day before the 1971 disaster - update curtesy of Vincent Cobb)
  • 1964 (May 24) Lima, Peru. 318 people are killed and another 500 injured in riots at National Stadium after Argentina beats Peru in an Olympic qualifying match. The pandemonium breaks out when the referee disallows a Peruvian goal in the final two minutes. Reports claimed 300 die in a stampede after goal disallowed, Olympic qualifying match. . Eye Witness Account of the 1964 Peru Crowd Disaster. From Frances Blackburn. Santiago, Chile. "I came across your thesis on crowd dynamics online. I was actually in the stadium on May 24, 1964 in Lima, Perú so I know about it from the practical side. I was only 19 and am still alive because my boyfriend and two of his cousins pinned me against a pillar and would not let me run. The story of what happened that day has been greatly simplified over the years and it now appears that the people in the stadium went mad because of the referee's call and brought about the disaster. It was a good deal more complicated than that. The referee's call was hugely unpopular but those were the days when the crowd still applauded a good goal made by the opposing team. A handful of people rushed onto the pitch, the police panicked and fired tear gas directly into the stands. Tear gas should be called something more indicative of what it is. It not only blinds you it makes it difficult to breathe. There is an automatic reaction to get oneself somewhere else. The stadium has the entrance to the stands on ground level. At least, it did. I have never been in it, or any other stadium, since. You climbed up the stairs and came out at mid-level. Because the game was one everyone wanted to see, the guards on the gates locked them and came up the stairs. No one knows how soon after the game started they did this. When the people started running down the stairs they came to locked metal gates. The guards had no hope of getting down to open them once the panic moved the crowd. We waited in the stands for about 45 minutes while one of the boys went to see where it was safe to go out. He was a medical student but he was very pale when he returned. He led us to an open gate and out. When we got outside there were mounted police trying to force people back inside. I have no idea why. Some of the men who came out had been throwing rocks at the police and damaging cars, South American stress relief. I know that the official figure is 318 and that may be true. I think it was more. The police officer in charge of the security who gave the order to fire tear gas into the spectators was shifted around the country for years afterwards from one police station to another and, as far as I know, was never even questioned. about his actions. I have no idea why I am writing to you. Perhaps I am gladdened by the thought that someone is out there working on the movement of crowds and that days like May 24th will be avoided in future. I told you about what happened because the people who died that day deserve an obituary."
  • 1967 (September 17). Turkey, Kayseri: spectators at soccer game start fighting using pistols, knifes, and other weapons; 44 people died and approximately 600 were injured
  • 1968 (June 23) Buenos Aires. Argentina. 74 people are killed and over 150 injured following a first-division game between River Plate and Boca Juniors when fans trying to leave the stadium mistakenly head toward a closed exit and are crushed against the doors by other fans unaware of the closed passageway. Reports of a crowd stampeded after burning paper was thrown onto terraces. Fans head towards a closed exit and are crushed against the doors.
  • 1971 (Jan 2nd) Glasgow, Scotland; (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-12083091) 66 people are killed and 140 are injured when barriers in Ibrox Stadium collapse near the end of a match between Celtic and Rangers and fans are crushed. The incident occurs when fans leaving the stadium are met by a group trying to return after hearing that Rangers had scored an equalizer. From a BBC website: 1971: Disaster at Ibrox.Sixty-six football fans died after a match between Celtic and Rangers at Ibrox Park. Initial reports suggested the tragedy had been caused by supporters rushing back up the stairs, after a late Rangers' goal, colliding with people leaving the stadium. But a public inquiry discounted this theory and said the deaths were the result of the crush of fans pouring down stairway 13. The disaster remains the worst in the history of Scottish football. Do you remember the Ibrox disaster? Were you there? Your memories so far. This is the first time I have put in print my experience as a 16-year-old. I was with a group of friends and can't even recall Celtic scoring but both I and [my friend] Shug Armstrong decided to go to the rear of the terrace to make a quick exit after the final whistle. I can recall watching the final minutes on my tiptoes at the back of the terrace near exit 13 when Rangers scored the equaliser, and we rejoiced. The kick-off was taken and the referee blew the final whistle. I remember moans and shouts for the people behind to stop pushing, I remember people tumbling over the top of us to where ever. William Orr, Scotland. We sped to the exit and the usual crush developed which was nothing unusual. As we went down the stairs what was apparent was that as we went down our angle slowly progressed towards the horizontal and I was quickly aware that we were falling. Instinctively I raised myself up and was trapped from my waist down. Shug was directly in front of me so I tried to relieve the pressure on him by pushing back as best I could. I remember moans and shouts for the people behind to stop pushing, I remember people tumbling over the top of us to where ever. I remember the giant railway sleepers that were at the side of the staircase collapsing. After what seemed an eternity the people behind us were freed and we were able to get back to our feet. I was numb in my legs which lasted a couple of weeks but had no other ill effect. Shug went to hospital for observation but was released. I remember shoes being strewn every where at the top of the staircase and I thought that these would be reclaimed by their owners. I walked down the terrace and saw people lying on the pitch and I assumed that they were drunk, but in fact most would be dead. I can remember the eerie misty silence that was broken by the ambulance sirens and I walked through the tunnel and out the front door of Ibrox. I walked into Glasgow City centre and made my way home to the east end of Glasgow where my mother was frantic with worry. My oldest brother lost his best friend John Buchanan who sadly died in the crush. I had been in many crowds before this day and I firmly believe that all that happened was that someone fell at the bottom to middle of the stairs and a domino effect followed. William Orr, Scotland Almost all memory of the game escapes me now, apart from the end, but what happened on Stairway 13 will haunt me for the rest of my days. It was well after the final whistle when my five mates and I made our way towards the Stairway 13 exit. As was usual at that time there was crushing at the top of the stairs, especially at big games. As I started down I was lifted off my feet by the press of the crown, again not unusual, but about a quarter of the way down I began slowly falling forward. The crush began to be unbearable until about half way down the crowd stopped moving but the pressure continued. I was trapped, being crushed and lying almost horizontally, I managed to somehow free my upper chest and just managed to breath. I could not speak, was barely breathing, cold and in shock. William Mason, Scotland. Around me I could hear shouting and cries but as time went on, (I was trapped for at least 45 minutes), these decreased until it was almost silent. I just wanted to sleep, (asphyxiation, lack of oxygen), but the man nearest to me slapped my face to try and keep me alert. I stayed conscious throughout until rescued by the police and was carried and laid out on the pitch. This would be about 6pm on January 2, dark sky (the floodlights were on) and very cold. I was then carried into the stadium and this was the worst part. I could not speak, was barely breathing, cold and in shock. I was left in a dressing room where all around me were stretchers with bodies, no sounds and some already covered up. That sent me over the edge and I started crying. It was then a nurse spotted the tears and I was quickly removed from the stadium to the Victoria Infirmary along with another badly injured man. There I was treated for broken ankle and crush injuries. I didn't go back to Ibrox or any football match for 17 years but have since returned and am now, proudly, an Ibrox season ticket holder. I was 18 in 1971 and for the past almost 30 years have met people that were at the game but have never met or talked to any of the 145 others who were injured. This is the first time I have written my account and although the physical injuries healed, I know the mental pain is still there for many survivors and victim's families. William Mason, Scotland. I was at the game. I stayed until the final whistle whereupon I made my way to the top of the terracing, and left the ground by Stairway 13. I made my way by public transport to my home in the west end of Glasgow completely unaware of the tragedy that befallen my fellow Rangers supporters. I have never really been able to reconcile how close I was to being involved and yet remaining without realisation of what had occurred until much later. The initial version of events of course was exasperating to me. As you rightly point out, this was later discredited. As a footnote, I may add that only a handful of years ago I took part in an official tour of the Stadium. It saddens me to report that the guide reported the erroneous version of events, blaming the incident on supporters rushing back up stairway 13 after hearing Stein's equalising goal being scored. Ian Cameron, UK. I recall the day only too well. I was an 11-year-old Celtic fan living a few miles away and waiting with some pals at the newsagent's door. Normally it was very exiting to wait for the evening edition of the paper to be delivered, to get the headline, but that day, the headline was not about the result. Soon after wave after wave of rangers' fans recalled how they felt there had been an accident. Initially the forecast was of eleven dead, the toll mounted as the night wore on. It was a tragic day and I and thousands of others had been on the steps before, luckily on a different day. With sectarianism slowly creeping out of football we should remember those fallen and for their sake hope both Celtic and Rangers recover past glories and move on to new highs. It is what they went to see thirty years ago. Stephen McKenna, UK. I was living in San Diego, California, and read about it in a Glasgow newspaper that was sent to me by my father-in-law. I read all the dead peoples' names and noticed a man, John Gardener, whom I had played football with in Clydebank. John was our goalkeeper, and one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. I had left Clydebank in 1959, and I believe Johnny was a coach of a youth team at the time of his death, in Clydebank. I am a Celtic fan, and Johnny was a Rangers' fan, I still have very good memories of Johnny - God rest his soul! Hubert Carey, US. Wiki page with general info. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibrox_disaster?wasRedirected=trueA Rangers supporters forum which shows the location of the long demolished Stairway 13 http://forum.followfollow.com/showthread.php?t=720308
  • 1971 (March 4) Salvador, Brazil. A fight and a wild rush broke out in the grandstands, killing four and injuring 1,500.
  • 1974 (Feb. 17) Cairo, Egypt. Crowds attempting to enter a club game broke down barriers and 49 people were trampled to death.
  • 1975 (March 12). USSR, Moskow, Sokolniki stadium: after a soccer game between a Canadian and a USSR youth team 20 people were crushed to death in a dark stairway.
  • 1976 (Oct 31) Yaounde, Cameroon. After a penalty kick was awarded to Cameroon in a World Cup qualifying match vs. the Congo, the Congolese goalie attacked the Gambian referee. A fight broke out and the president of Cameroon, watching the game at home on television, sent in paratroopers by helicopter. Two bystanders died.
  • 1976 (Dec. 6) Port-au-Prince, Haiti; At a World Cup qualifier between Haiti and Cuba, the visitors scored and a Haitian fan set off a firecracker. Fans thought it was gunfire and panicked, knocking down a soldier, whose gun went off and killed a small boy and girl in the crowd. Further panic caused two people to be trampled to death, and one man died jumping over a wall. The soldier committed suicide.
  • 1979 24 died and 27 injured in a stampede as fans stampede during a light failure. Nigeria
  • 1981 (Feb 8) Piraeus, Greece. 24 died in a stampede as fans rush to leave ground, 54 injured.
  • 1981 38 injured during a crowd surge at Hillsborough Stadium. Sheffield, Great Britain.
  • 1982 (Oct. 20) Moscow; 340 are reportedly killed at a European Cup match between Soviet club Spartak Moscow and Haarlem of the Netherlands. Police are blamed for pushing fans down a narrow, icy staircase before the end of the match. When a late goal is scored, exiting fans try to re-enter the stadium and create a "human mincer." Moscow officials dispute the claims made in the publication of the Soviet Sports Committee, saying only 61 died and police did not push fans. Luzhniki Stadium: Up to 340 people are crushed to death when fans leaving the stadium try to re-enter the stands after a last-minute goal in a UEFA Cup tie between Moscow Spartak and Dutch side Haarlem, according to Sovietsky Sport. The government newspaper Izvestia puts the death toll at 66.
  • 1982 Cali, Columbia. 24 died and 250 injured in a stampede, caused when drunken fans provoke a stampede.
  • 1985 Mexico City. 10 die and 29 injured trying to force their way into a stadium.
  • 1985 (May 11) Bradford, England; 56 people die when a cigarette stub ignites a stadium's wooden terrace section and fire engulfs the structure.
  • 1985 (May 29) Brussels, Belgium; 39 people are killed at the European Champions Cup Final at Heysel Stadium when riots beak out and a wall separating rival fans of England's Liverpool and Italy's Juventus of Turin collapses.
  • 1987 (March 10) Tripoli, Libya; 20 people are killed when panic-stricken fans flee knife-wielding ruffians and trigger the collapse of a wall. (This report conflicted with those from the Libyan state news agency JANA, which said two people were killed and 16 were hospitalized.)
  • 1988 (March 12) Katmandu, Nepal. At least 93 people are killed and more than 100 injured when fans fleeing a hailstorm stampede into locked stadium exits.
  • 1989 (April 15) Hillsborough, Sheffield, England. 96 people are crushed to death (1 died in hospital with crush related injuries) at an English FA Cup semi-final game between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, when police open gates to alleviate crowding outside Hillsborough Stadium. The resulting rush of people onto the already filled terrace sections traps fans against riot control fences ringing the field. 400 injured.

1990 Crowd Disasters

  • 1990 (July) Mogadishu, Somalia, 7 killed and 18 injured after President Mohammed Siad Barre's bodyguards opened fire to quell a disturbance.
  • 1990 (March 25th) USA, New York City, Bronx, illegal Happy Land Social Club, 87 people died
  • 1990 Mina Valley, Saudi Arabia.1,426 die in accident at the Moslem pilgrims converging on Al-Mu'aysam Tunnel. The pilgrims, 680 of whom were later identified as Indonesian and some 600 as Turkish, died of suffocation or were trampled to death in a frantic attempt to escape, as an estimated 50,000 worshippers converged simultaneously on the 500-metre long al- Mu'aysam tunnel to the pilgrim tent city of Mina towards Jamarat Bridge.

1991 Crowd Disasters

  • 1991 (Jan. 13) Orkney, South Africa; at least 40 people are killed, most of them trampled or crushed along riot-control fences that surround the field, when fans panic and try to escape brawls that break out in the grandstand. 40 killed and 50 injured in South Africa's worst sports disaster. A refereeing decision triggered violence and a stampede during a pre-season 'friendly' between arch rivals Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
  • 1991 (July), Nairobi, Kenya. 1 fan killed and 24 injured in a stampede during an African Nations Cup qualifier between Kenya and Mozambique.

1992 Crowd Disasters

  • 1992 (May 5) Bastia, Corsica; 17 people are killed and 1,900 injured when a temporary grandstand, erected to increase the capacity of the stadium from 8,500 to 18,000, collapses before a French Cup semi-final match between four-time defending league champion Olympique Marseille and second-division Bastia.
  • 1992 (July 19) Rio de Janerio. 50 injured falling from upper tier of Maracana Stadium when part of the fence gave way when 150,000 fans await the Brazilian championship final. 50 injured after falling five metres from the upper tier at the Maracana Stadium when part of the fencing gave way before a National Championship match between Flamengo and Botafogo.
  • 1992 (April 29 - May 2) Los Angles Riots: civil disturbance began a few hours after the acquittal of four police officers in the Rodney King trial at the intersection of Normandie and Florence in South Los Angeles; In the four days of riots that followed 51 people were killed, 2,383 persons were injured needing hospital treatment, over 1,000 buildings became burned and hundreds more damaged over a 105 square mile area. Eventually over 22,000 law enforcement, California National Guard, and federal military personnel were called in to restore order.

1993 Crowd Disasters

  • 1993 (Jan 1st) Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong.  21 died in crowd crush incident. The Lan Kwai Fong disaster that took place in Hong Kong in the early hours of 1 January 1993. It was a crush crowd incident, catching thousands of party-goers off-guard and resulted in 21 persons dying. The location (narrow streets and a sloped gradient), poor police planning and bad weather all played their part in this disaster. The crowd. In January 1993 at Lan Kwai Fong, not far from the Happy Valley Racecourse a disaster occurred. More than 20 people died in a crowd crush on a busy street. From Mr. Justice Bokary’s Interim Report into that disaster. A number of persons, more or less in a row and more or less at the same time, lost or were deprived of their footing and fell. Because the press from behind was overwhelming, more and more people started falling. People piled upon those who had gone down before them. The pile grew until it reached such a height that the people immediately behind it were propped up by it and pinned against it by the press of people behind and upslope of them. Thus came about what some witnesses have called a "human wall". Tragically, men, women and children had the breath of life crushed out of them. 20 persons died very quickly, one more died in hospital some days later.

1994 Crowd Disasters

  • 1994 Saudi Arabia. 266 died 98 injured in a progressive crowd collapse during "stoning the Devil" ritual at the Jamarat Bridge.  In ALL incidents at Jamarat the crushing is a progressive crowd collapse caused by the sheer numbers of pilgrims. You have to study, in depth, these types of events to realise that 2,500,000 million pilgrims passing through a complex space the Saudi authorities are doing a phenomenal job.
  • 1994 MTV Europe - Fire in Gdansk, Poland. 7 people die through fire and crush related injuries
  • 1994 (November 27th) China, Liaoning province, city of Fuxin: fire in a nightclub; 234 people died. 

1995 Crowd Disasters

  • 1995 (April 8th) Sierra Leone, Freetown: the main gate collapsed on hundreds of fans scrambling for tickets outside a packed stadium, at least 40 people were injured.
  • 1995 (February 15th)Taiwan, Taichung: fire in the 3-story Weierkang Club restaurant, karaoke bar and nightclub; 64 people died
  • 1995 (April 24th) China, Xinjiang region, Urumqi: fire at an illegal all-night karaoke and video centre; 51 people died.
  • 1995 (December 23rd) India, Mandi Dabwali, Rajiv Marriage Palace: during a celebration a short circuit from an electric generator ignited a synthetic cloth tent; the unauthorized construction surrounded by high brick walls of the palace provided no means of evacuation and the main entrance was cut off by the flames; 441 people died, many of them children and at least 150 were injured; medical and emergency resources in the town of 50,000 were very limited or non-existent.

1996 Crowd Disasters

  • 1996 (June 16) Lusaka, Zambia. Nine soccer fans were crushed to death and 78 others injured during a stampede following Zambia's victory over Sudan in a World Cup qualifying game.
  • 1996 (July 14) Tripoli, Libya; A riot at a soccer match involving a team controlled by a son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi killed or injured up to 50 people. No exact figures were reported in the Libyan-controlled press.
  • 1996 (Oct. 16) Guatemala City. At least 83 people died and about 180 others were injured during a stampede at a stadium before a World Cup qualifying match between Guatemala and Costa Rica.
  • 1996 (March 19th) Philippines, Quezon City, Night Club fire, more than 150 people died

1997 Crowd Disasters

  • 1997 Jamarat Bridge Saudi Arabia. 22 dead, 43 injured, Muslim pilgrims crushed.  In ALL incidents at Jamarat the crushing is a progressive crowd collapse caused by the sheer numbers of pilgrims. You have to study, in depth, these types of events to realise that 2,500,000 million pilgrims passing through a complex space the Saudi authorities are doing a phenomenal job. 

1998 Crowd Disasters

  • 1998 Gothenburg (Sweden). The fire in a discotheque in Gothenburg, 63 young people died. On Thursday 29 November 1998, at about 11.40 pm, a serious fire broke out in a discotheque in Hisingen, Gothenburg. The fire started in the emergency exit stairwell at the rear (south end) of the building. The fire had probably been going for a good while before anyone smelt smoke. When the door to the stairwell was opened, unburned fire-gases ignited and the fire spread quickly through the dance hall. Sixty-three youngsters aged between 12 and 20 died and more than 200 were injured. The hall was approximately 10 x 36 metres and was situated on the first floor of an old industrial building. It had two exits, the main door situated at the northern short end of the building and the previously mentioned emergency exit at the southern end. The hall had been inspected and approved by the authorities to hold up to a maximum of 150 people. When the fire broke out we estimate that there were between 340 and 400 people in the hall. Panic ensued and everybody pushed towards the one remaining exit. This consisted of an outward opening fire door, with the space between the two sides of the doorframe measuring 90 centimetres. But because the door could only be opened to an angle of 90 degrees, its thickness encroached on the available space and therefore reduced the opening to 82 centimetres. There was crushing and congestion, many people fell over, and the door opening became blocked up by youngsters wedged into it. The police, fire and ambulance services were quick to arrive on scene, and attended in large numbers. Most of the dance hall was by then already in flames. Desperate youngsters jumped from windows from a height of six metres. Many of those who succeeded in getting out were seriously injured. There were still more than a hundred people left inside. With the help of external ladders about 20 people were successfully rescued through the windows. About another 40 people were rescued via the main staircase by BA equipped fire fighters. Many of the youngsters who got out of the building at an early stage helped, in a most admirable way, to take care of their injured friends. Other youngsters, however, in their frustration at what they perceived as the slow progress of the rescue work became aggressive. Actual violence was directed towards rescue personnel. Work at the incident site was initially chaotic. In the courtyard outside the disco, emergency services personnel and their vehicles were crowded together with seriously injured people and shocked survivors. But as time went on the rescue work was organised along the lines of well-practised plans and routines. A makeshift assembly point for the injured was set up in an empty car showroom. Medical personnel gave first aid, prioritised the injured, and assigned them to various hospitals. The rescue commander and police operations chief coordinated their respective control points. Support staffs were created. The passing of Information to relatives and the media got under way. Two hours after the raising of the first alarm, all the injured had been transported to various hospitals, whereas the 61 deceased remained at the scene. Two of the 213 injured youngsters died later in hospital. Apart from the fire on board the vessel Scandinavian Star, this is the worst fire disaster to have affected Sweden in modern times.
  • 1998 Jamarat Bridge, Saudi Arabia. 118 Muslim pilgrims crushed.  434 Injured. We have the complete details of this and other Jamarat related incidents and the press like to report "stampede" or "panic". In ALL incidents the crushing is a progressive crowd collapse caused by the sheer numbers of pilgrims. You have to study, in depth, these types of events to realise that 2,500,000 million pilgrims passing through a complex space the Saudi authorities are doing a phenomenal job. 

1999 Crowd Disasters

  • 1999 (Jan 11). Egypt, Alexandria: stampede after a derby between Korm and Al Ittihad, 11 people died.
  • 1999 (Jan 15) Kerala, India. 51 Hindus killed and 100 injured in a stampede after part of a shrine collapsed. Over 1.5 million present at ceremony.
  • 1999 (May 31) Minsk, Belarus. 53 dead, 150 injured, 78 hospitalized when a crowd of 2,500 rushed to get out of the rain at the railway station. From The Daily Telegraph, June 1, 1999. An unprecedented tragedy happened on May 30 in the centre of the Belarusian capital. Over 50 people died and some 300 were wounded in a crush at the entrance to the underground station...The tragedy was caused by heavy rain that started at about 8 p.m....A few thousand Minsk residents, mostly young people, had gathered ...The first thunders and rain drops made people rush to find shelter in the underground crossing...Somebody fell down on the concrete floor and the first blood was shed. People were slipping over and trampling those lying on the floor...People were falling at the feet of the crowd. Over two thousand people poured into the 10-metre wide underground crossing thus creating a dense moving jam...there were people literally smeared against the walls, pressed into the floor, ...Meanwhile, screams of those who were unable to escape on their own, kept echoing from this hellish meat grinder..."We are soccer fans, so we know what to do in a crowd – cover your head with hands and make your way to the exit."..."People kept arriving until there was almost no space and then the whole mess started. There was no escape. The people surging in from behind just left the others lying and walked over them," one of the survivors told Russian television.."About 300 people were lying here, one layer on top of another," a policeman said "We were carrying out the top layer of people and they were still alive. Those in the bottom layer were either dead or injured." Two policemen were caught in the crush and also died as they tried to rescue those who had fallen...More than 150 people were taken to 10 hospitals in Minsk as doctors battled through the night to save the lives of the victims in the tragedy. In his speech president Lukashenko said "There is nobody to blame, there is no one to make a claim to, it happened because it happened, even if there was anybody responsible it was the rain that caused the disaster."
  • 1999 (October 30th) South Korea, Inchon (30 miles west of Seoul), shopping complex: Fire started in the underground floor of a four story-building that housed shops, karaoke and billiard rooms. Most victims were found on the second and third floors. Local EMS and hospitals were overwhelmed with the amount of casualties.71 people were injured and at least 54 people died, many of them teen-agers.

It only takes one or two people to trip in a high density, moving crowd and the consequences are disastrous. At Belarus the combination of factors should have been countered by an appropriate design and management. The combination of a large crowd flow, steep stairs, a narrow enclosed space is, without question, unsafe. Lack of planning, failing to anticipate the consequences of a change in the weather and its effect on the crowd dynamic are the root causes of the accident - NOT the crowd behaviour - failing to anticipate the crowds behaviour and allowing the accident to happen.

2000 Crowd Disasters

  • 2000 (April 23) Monrovia, Liberia. At least three reported dead and others injured as thousands of fans forced their way into an overcrowded stadium for a World Cup qualifier between Liberia and Chad.
  • 2000 (March 25) Durban, South Africa. Three teenage boys threw a teargas canister into a packed crowd of about 600 youngsters celebrating the end of a school term. Panic caused a rush to escape. However, only one entrance, overcrowding and other building and fire violations at the club blocked the efforts of many to reach safety. Thirteen students were killed and about 150 injured. DURBAN, South Africa (AP) - A dance hall crowded with celebrating students erupted into chaos Friday when someone threw a tear gas canister into the room, killing 13 youths and injuring 44. About 600 students were at an afternoon party at the Throb Nightclub in suburban Durbin when tear gas suddenly filled the room, causing students to rush out in panic, said fire department spokesman Jay Kanniappen. Authorities have not released details on how the 13 died. KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman Bala Naidoo said a brick wall collapsed during the chaos. Police suspect that one of the children was responsible for releasing the tear gas, he said. Kevin Govender, 19, is a regular at the club and was there Friday. "About three to four songs had been played when suddenly people started screaming, pushing and running towards the doorway. I didn't know what was happening but found that I couldn't breathe," he said. "I was forced to join the scramble to get out of the club as fast as I could." He fell and was trampled upon but managed to get up and escaped uninjured. His clothes were torn, and he lost a shoe. Anderson Marimuthu, 18, said he fears a friend died in the chaos. "I had just reached the safety of the exit, and as I turned to look back, I saw this wall hurtling downwards on the people below," he said. The injured suffered mainly abrasions, respiratory problems and head injuries. Several were seriously injured. RK Khan hospital superintendent Dr. Prakash Subban said the injured ranged in age from 12 to 18. The club had two exits, but the young people had access to only one, said Narend Singh, provincial minister for agriculture and environmental affairs. However, the club's owner, Rajan Naidoo, said the club had four exits, and that all were open. "I think the children panicked and headed for the main entrance where they initially came in," he said. Naidoo said he offered to help pay for the funerals of the victims. The youngest person to die was 11, and Singh called for an investigation into why children as young as that were at the club. Naidoo said it was matinee disco and that the general policy was to serve alcohol only to those 18 and older. Community volunteers set up an emergency center with trauma counselors to help parents. By Friday evening, 300 people had lined up at a police station to find out whether their children were among the victims. Outside the club, a man with a megaphone urged a crowd of about 100 angry people to burn down the club and the owner's car. Police were at the scene, and the South African National Defense Force were called in for assistance. The club is located in Chatsworth, a Durban suburb with a largely Indian population of 600,000. Durban, South Africa's third-largest city, lies on the Indian Ocean coast, 348 miles southeast of Johannesburg.
  • 2000 (March 29th) China, Henan province, city of Jiaozuo: fire in an adult cinema; at least 74 people died.
  • 2000 (July 8) Harare, Zimbabwe. Twelve people die after a stampede at World Cup qualifier between South Africa and Zimbabwe. On 8 July there was an international soccer match between Zimbabwe and South Africa at the National Sports Stadium in Harare. The stadium was filled to capacity with spectators. At the beginning of the match some people in the stadium chanted MDC slogans and flashed MDC signs. Towards the end of the match some spectators started to throw cans and mostly plastic bottles onto the pitch after the South Africans had scored their second goal. The police responded by firing into the crowded stands a large number of tear gas canisters. Panic ensued and people tried to run towards the exits to get away from the noxious fumes. Tear gas canisters were fired towards some of the exits as people were trying to get out of the stadium. Thirteen people died as a result of being trampled during the stampede of people. Among those killed in the stampede were four children, the youngest age 5. The following is a statement taken by the Human Rights Legal Unit from one of the victims, Mr Cashmore Gachira: I was with five other people, all family members and friends, at the stadium. I was in Bay 2. After South Africa scored its second goal, I observed some supporters moving out of the stadium. Some other disgruntled fans were throwing empty plastic bottles into the stadium, but not as far as the pitch. I was seated about 50m from the police, and I observed the following incident. About three police officers who were in front of me indiscriminately fired teargas canisters in the general direction of where I was seated. I started running towards the exit gate. My brother was in front of me, but in the pandemonium I lost sight of him. After the second batch of steps, I observed that people were running back from the exit gates. These people were forcing their way into the stadium against the flow of the crowds. I got the impression that either the exit gates were locked, or the people were being tear gassed from outside the exit. At this stage somebody fired water from a firehose. I collapsed. When I regained consciousness, I noticed that my brother’s 10-year-old son, Tonderai Jeke Gachira, was lying dead about 4 to 6 metres from where I was. My young brother came to where I was lying and told me that my other brother, Hondo, was also dead. It later turned out that he was not dead, however, but had merely collapsed. He regained consciousness in the Parirenyatwa Hospital. Police Might Be Charged in Zimbabwe. Associated Press report. July 19, 2000. At least five police officers might face criminal charges in the deaths of 13 fans killed in a stampede after police fired tear gas during a World Cup qualifying game. Zimbabwe's police chief said Wednesday the officers might be charged with involuntary manslaughter stemming from the July 8 soccer game in the capital between Zimbabwe and South Africa. Some police were "derelict" when they fired tear gas in the stands at bottle-throwing fans, Police Chief Augustine Chihuri said in announcing preliminary findings of a police inquiry. "Truly, there was too much gas," he said. "Perhaps it should not have been applied." Among the 50,000 fans were some 300 opposition agitators. The police chief said they were deliberately placed in one grandstand to disrupt the game, adding police had evidence they were transported to the stadium. The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change has repeatedly denied the accusations. Witnesses said many fans gave the MDC's open-hand salute and held red cards. Red cards are a soccer symbol the opposition used during the campaign for last month's parliamentary elections to signify that Mugabe's party should be removed. The national anthem was ``interrupted by some hooligans,'' the inquiry reported. Witnesses at the stadium said political jibes were also directed against Mugabe's nephew Leo, head of the Zimbabwe Football Association. Chihuri, an appointee of President Robert Mugabe, denied that a contingent of 400 police were so angered by the opposition slogans that they overreacted. The opposition poses the biggest challenge to Mugabe's hold on power since he led the nation to independence in 1980. Chihuri said two people were arrested for throwing objects on the field and other suspects from among the group of agitators were being sought. They would face charges of public violence and possible involuntary manslaughter charges. The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has placed an advertisement in the press indicating that it is prepared to pursue legal actions for compensation on behalf of victims and relatives of victims. It is intended to bring such claims together in the form of a class action.
  • 2000 (July) Roskilde Festival, Denmark. 26 people injured and 9 died at a concert (Pearl Jam) when crowds slip and fall in mud at front of stage.
  • 2000 (October 20th) Mexico, Mexico City, Lobohombo nightclub: A blaze at 5 a.m. in one the city's most popular night clubs killed at least 20 people. 27 others suffered mostly critical injuries. Survivors said they were blocked from leaving the burning building by disco personnel who insisted they pay their bills first. The blaze killed 20, and injured two dozen more. Patrons panicked when smoke began filling the disco, and began scrambling to escape out the club's only exit. The 4,700 square feet club had a capacity for more than 1,000 people, but the building had no emergency exits.
  • 2000 (Dec) São Januário stadium, Brazil. Approximately 200 were hurt in a crowd crush incident in the stands of the São Januário stadium during a Brazilian soccer championship match. According to reports, the stadium was visibly oversold, but organizers did not notify safety officials. At one point in the frenzied match, a fight started at the top of one portion of the stadium stands. A weapon was brandished and people near the fight stampeded causing a crowd surge and crush at the bottom of the pitch. Many fans were trapped by security fencing and could not escape.
  • 2000 (December 25th) China, Central Henan province, City of Luoyang: the fire in a Dance Hall in the multi-story Dongdu commercial building started at 9:30 p.m. and trapped construction workers on the second and third floor and more than 200 people in a dance hall on the fourth floor; the fire was extinguished three hours later, but in the meantime at least 309 people died and dozens became injured.
  • 2000, April Portugal, Lisbon, Luanda nightclub: release of pepper gas and power cut caused a panicked stampede by at least 500 people, 7 persons died, 60 were injured. 

2001 Crowd Disasters

  • 2001 (January 1st) Netherlands, near Amsterdam, town of Volendam: Fire in a Dance Hall; ten people are dead and about 130 injured after fire swept through a cafe packed with teenagers. Many of the injured were hurt as they trampled each other, smashed windows and leapt from the third-floor premises to escape flames and smoke. Several other youngsters suffered severe burns or smoke inhalations, and about 20 of these victims had to be taken to special burn units in Belgium and Germany. The fire started shortly after midnight as about 700 people were heralding the new year at the bar/cafe complex "Het Hemeltje" (Little Heaven) inside a row of old wooden houses in Volendam, a picturesque fishing village with 18,000 residents about 20 kilometres (13 miles) northeast of Amsterdam. The cause of the blaze is still unknown; the possibilities of fireworks smuggled into the building or a Christmas lights short-circuit that ignited pine branches are under investigation. According to press reports Voldendam's mayor has confirmed that only one of the three emergency exits was accessible.
  • 2001 March -  Jamarat Bridge, Saudi Arabia. 35 dead 179 injured - Stoning of the Devil
  • 2001 April 11 - Ellis Park South Africa. At least 43 people were killed at a football match between South Africa's two biggest teams. The stampede began as a crowd tried to get into Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg to watch the match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
  • 2001 April 29 - Lubumbashi, Congo. Another stampede killed eight people.
  • 2001 (March) 4 young girls crushed to death during signing session of British Band A1 during mall promotion - Jakarta, India.
  • 2001 (April) Scores Killed In Pakistani Crowd Crush. At least 36 Moslem pilgrims in Pakistan died when they were crushed to death in a crowd of approximately 100,000 people. The worshipers were waiting Saturday night to partake in an annual religious ceremony at a shrine in Pak Patten, about 100 miles from Lahore. Approximately 150 people were also treated for crowd crush injuries at the scene or in hospitals. A door opening delay that kept pilgrims waiting for three hours; a narrow street that funnelled the worshipers into the shrine and poor crowd management were reasons given for the disaster. When the main door finally opened, worshipers surged forward. Many in the crowd were crushed or trampled, according to reports.
  • 2001 (April) The initial blame for a devastating crowd crush at a football match at the Ellis Park Stadiumin Johannesburg, South Africa, is being placed on overselling, overcrowding and poor crowd management, according to local news media accounts. The latest information from Johannesburg is that at least 47 people have died today, including women and at least one 12-year-old child. Innumerable people have been injured, likely in the hundreds. The stadium has a legal capacity of 68,000 people, but on site estimates put the spectator count at 120,000 for the popular rivalry between the Kaizer Chiefs and the Orlando Pirates. Tragedy was triggered when people with tickets tried to push their way into the already packed stadium, trapping and crushing others in the process, some along a barbed wire security fence.
  • 2001 May 6 - Iran. Several soccer fans were killed and hundreds others injured Sunday when part of the roof of a stadium grandstand caved in during a game in northeastern Iran. Two people died and a third was in critical condition at a local hospital, Asghar Samarbakhsh, deputy sports director for Mazandaran province, said. The number of dead was in dispute.
  • 2001 May 6 - Ivory Coast. Fighting broke out among fans at a match in Ivory Coast, killing one person and injuring 39.
  • 2001 May 9 - Ghana, West Africa. A stampede at a packed soccer match between two of Ghana's leading teams killed at least 100 people Wednesday night, hospital officials said. Accra's Hearts of Oak was leading Assante Kotoko 2-1 with five minutes left in the game when Assante supporters began throwing bottles and chairs onto the field, witnesses said. Police then fired tear gas, creating panic in the stands. Charlayne Hunter-Gault is CNN's Johannesburg bureau chief and correspondent. Q: What is known so far about the cause of this incident in which 126 people were killed in a stampede at the end of a soccer match in Ghana? Hunter-Gault: There isn't anything definitive out so far because the government announced that there would be a commission of inquiry, but one of the interesting things about this soccer tragedy is how it compares with other ones, particularly in Africa in the past year. In fact, the security and or the police used tear gas to attempt to disperse the crowd. While there was already a lot of activity, including fans on the losing side clashing with fans on the winning side and throwing seats on to the pitch in the stadium, many seem to think that the people's panic was caused as a result of the tear gas. In fact, there's one soccer expert, a commentator here in South Africa who has called for use of tear gas to be banned at these events, even in the event of some unruliness because that just seems to add insult to injury and people panicking. Many of those in Ghana as here in South Africa were suffocated or crushed under foot in the ensuing rush as people were attempting to escape both the trouble and the tear gas. In Ghana the gates were locked shut to this 40,000 seat capacity stadium, so that also made it quite difficult for people to get out of the way of the stampede. Q: Are there certain stadium conditions that contributed to so many injuries and deaths? Hunter-Gault: At least one commentator and highly respected journalist, a Ghanayan, who was on the scene did say that the commission of inquiry ought to look into the architecture of the sports stadium. He said that there were too many metal barricades, too many wires, too many barriers for people to get out and also, as I said, the gates at the entrance were in fact locked. I think that will be part of the inquiry. Here in South Africa's tragedy, which happened in April in which 43 people were killed and 155 injured, there was a huge scaffolding outside one of the gates. That might have been a factor in people's inability to get out and contributed to the crush because people didn't have anywhere to go or have any room to maneuver under those circumstances. That's a real possibility, that the architecture of the stadium, as well as the impediments to egress could easily be factors to these tragedies. In most of these situations the stadiums are filled to capacity. Soccer is a passion with people in Africa and in Ghana the seats were apparently all taken. I wasn't there, but commentators say that it was packed to capacity if not overcapacity. People say (and this was actually testimony recently, interviews, by people who were at the South African stadium tragedy in April) that what often happens is that people walk up to the stadium and don't have tickets and the tickets are sold out, but if you pass a little money to a guard, you can get in. So there is an overcrowding that exacerbates the other problems that evolve. Q: How will this incident and others recently affect Africa's chances of hosting the 2010 World Cup? Hunter-Gault: Soccer officials here seem to think that it shouldn't affect their chances because it is, after all, nine years away. Most people seem to think that if something dramatic isn't done to right some of the problems in some of these stadiums, and if these kinds of tragedies continue to happen, they will probably doom some of those chances. There have been soccer matches here in South Africa where there have been huge crowds of people, but they were in different venues and they've come off uneventfully, at least in terms of this kind of tragedy. So the argument could be made that under the proper circumstances and with the proper organization and management, these kinds of incidents could be avoided. One commentator was saying this morning that some people might raise a question about whether or not countries in Africa with limited resources for such construction could really afford to make the changes necessary to prevent these kinds of deaths. And this well-known soccer analyst and veteran watcher of the game was saying it wouldn't take a lot of resources to re-organize the approach to soccer matches and to establish guidelines similar to the ones adopted in Europe. For example, in South Africa, for the rugby matches, no tickets are sold at the stadium and they monitor very carefully to allow only people with tickets to come in. They have ample security. They have assigned, numbered seats. So there is a school of thought among some veteran observers of the game that just some very elementary changes in the way the thing is organized could go a long way towards limiting any kind of damage that might arise as a result of over exuberance and even unruly fans. (Reuters) 126 people die in crowd stampede - Ghana. Thousands of desperate relatives besieged a morgue in Ghana''s capital to search for victims of a soccer stampede that killed at least 126 people in Africa''s worst football tragedy. Authorities promised an inquiry into the disaster, which spectators said was triggered by police firing teargas after fans hurled missiles at the end of Wednesday's game between Ghana''s two leading teams, arch-rivals Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko. It was the soccer-mad continent's third deadly stadium disaster in a month.
  • 2001 (July) Akashi Crowd Crush Disaster: Preliminary Analysis Points To Poor Planning And Management. 10 people were killed and over 120 were injured. Eight of the ten victims were under the age of 10-years-old. Two were in their 70s, according to the Kyodo News. The victims were part of a crowd of well over 150,000 people who were enjoying a fireworks display nearby. Among the major crowd safety flaws that lead to the crowd crush and crowd collapse disaster are, according to CMS (USA): 1) Reliance by organizers on one major egress route for tens of thousands of people. 2) Reliance on an egress route not designed for the crowd capacity that could reasonably be expected to use the exit route following the fireworks display. 3) An underestimation of the anticipated event audience size. Therefore, an under assessment of the staffing, services and demands that would be placed upon the event site. 4) A lack of emergency exits on the walkway. 5) A flawed, poorly executed or non-existent emergency plan. 6) Failure of a timely response to the initial signs of impending disaster.
  • 2001 (August) Forty-five fans had to receive medical treatment after they were crushed at a concert featuring Eminem. They were crushed 20 minutes after the Detroit rapper came on stage at the Gig on the Green festival in Glasgow. The show was stopped while police and stewards helped to remove injured fans caught up in the crush. Before the rapper appeared on stage, announcements had been made by festival organisers asking people to stop surging forward. A spokesman for the ambulance service said 45 fans were treated for minor injuries. Five were taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary and two to the city's Victoria Infirmary for observation. A police spokesman said an overhead helicopter at the concert help staff monitor the situation for the 30 minutes while the concert was halted. The spokesman praised Eminem and his band for helping to ease the situation and complying with requests from organisers to ask fans to stop moving forward. He said: "Eminem and his band did all they could to help the situation and we are grateful for his support." Susan McCarrol, 21, of Glasgow, who was at the sell-out show said: "I was near the front and it was really scary. There was this mad surge of people and they kept moving forward. "You could hear folk say 'get off' and things like that. When it got too bad we just moved out of the way and decided to leave."
  • 2001 September 1st. Japan, Tokyo, Mah-Jongg Club: Nightly Fire in the 3rd. floor of building that contained numerous restaurants and red-light establishments in a busy entertainment district; the windowless structure was crowded and the stairways are described as extremely narrow; at least 44 people died, 3 were injured.
  • 2001 (December 18th)Aracaju, Brazil. Free Christmas Gift Distribution Creates Crush And Death. Four people died, including three children, when a poorly planned and managed government sponsored Christmas gift giveaway program for children went awry in Aracaju, Brazil. Forty to forty-five thousand people showed up at a public building for the holiday event, approximately the crowd size anticipated.Tens of thousands of people waiting to receive their free gifts were caught in a craze when one of the main gates opened triggering a surge and crush, according to local news reports. In spite of the deaths, government authorities continued the distribution of toys, after order was restored.
  • 2001 (December 22nd) Sofia, Bulgaria. SEVEN DIE IN DISCO CROWD DISASTER Seven pre-teens and teens died in a crowd trampling in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Friday night. The victims--between 10-and 14-years-old--were among thousands of young people celebrating the start of the Christmas holiday at the Indigo, the country's largest disco club. Tomas Shumaher, a popular German DJ headlined the event. From national news media accounts, it appears the disaster was triggered by poor crowd management and by entrance stairs that were described as "icy." There are also conflicting reports about a possible structural collapse inside the club. Approximately 1,000 to 1,500 young people were waiting to enter the already crowded club when the entrance doors were "suddenly" opened, according to one Bulgarian news wire report. Many in the young crowd likely slipped on the icy stairs as the formerly waiting mass of ticket holders surged forward toppling people in front of them. Many in the crowd found themselves trapped and then trampled. Suffocation was pronounced the cause of death for the seven killed in the crush. President-elect Georgi Parnanov told the AFP news wire, "Conditions in the disco were primitive and this incident should have been foreseen." An official day of mourning will correspond with the burial of the victims. In the meantime, the Interior Ministry closed all disco clubs in Bulgaria to review current club security and crowd management procedures. Yesterday's tragic outcome is common to public assembly events where patrons waiting to enter a place are not properly organized or processed. The Indigo disco disaster was easily avoidable. Friday, 21 December, 2001, 23:55 GMT. Seven die in Sofia disco tragedy. Most of those who died were under 15. At least seven teenagers have been killed in a stampede at a disco in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. All those who died suffocated, according to hospital officials quoted by French news agency AFP. The melee occurred as hundreds of children skidded on an icy staircase of the discotheque. Police spokeswoman Stefka Ivanopva. Bulgarian police spokeswoman Stefka Ivanopva said the stampede occurred as teenagers tried to get into the town centre disco on Friday night. She told the Associated Press news agency that initial reports of a stairway collapsing were false. "The melee occurred as hundreds of children skidded on an icy staircase of the discotheque," she said. Security checked Interior Minister Georgi Petkanov said that one person died at the scene and the others later in hospital. Most of the victims died in hospital, Most of those who died were under 15. Speaking on state television, Mr Petkanov said that officials investigating the case did not initially believe the disco's owners to be at fault. More than 1,500 teenagers were trying to enter the Indigo disco club - a former ice rink - when the accident happened, Bulgarian state radio reported. Police said they would be checking security at all of Sofia's nightclubs. Freezing conditions Eyewitness Anton Popov, who was waiting to enter the club, told Reuters news agency that the disco was holding a Christmas party when the accident happened. "I was on the staircase when I heard screams from inside and I first thought that people were having fun," he said. Poor weather conditions over the past few days have put temperatures well below freezing. Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Cobourg visited victims at one of the hospitals, as did outgoing President Petar Stoyanov and President-elect Georgi Parvanov. Mr Parvanov said that a national day of mourning would be held on the day of the victims' funerals."Conditions in the disco were primitive and this incident should have been foreseen," he told AFP.

2002 Crowd Disasters

  • 2002 (Jan 8th) Japanese Mall Event Organizers Create Crowd Craze--10 Injured. The Tama Plaza Tokyu Shopping Centre in Yokohama, Japan, thought they had a good publicity stunt for the first day of the new year. What they really planned was a classic crowd craze situation that caused injury to at least 10 people, two of whom were sent to a local hospital. The marketing scheme went like this: A promotion offering "lucky bags" ("fukubukuro") containing merchandise more valuable than their retail price were offered to the public by the shopping Centre on New Year's day. As a result, a large crowd lined up at the shopping Centre to obtain the specially priced bags. Anxiety and competitiveness developed in the waiting crowd, as could be anticipated. When the doors of the Centre opened mid morning, the shoppers surged forward. The craze caused a crowd collapse as people toppled over each other.
  • 2002 (Jan 18th) Dozens of people are feared dead after a river of molten rock poured from a volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo. United Nations officials estimate that 45 people have died in the 24 hours since red-hot lava began pouring out of Mount Nyiragongo down through the eastern town of Goma and on into Lake Kivu, which straddles the Rwandan border. "This is going to be a human catastrophe," said an official from a contingent of UN ceasefire observers deployed in the eastern Congolese city of more than half a million. "We have to find them shelter, put them up in camps. There's no electricity, no running water." UN officials estimate that up to 300,000 people were driven from their homes as molten lava swept through Goma.
  • 2002 (Feb 20th) Egyptian officials are investigating the circumstances that led to one of the worst rail disasters in the country's history. At least 350 people were killed when a train from Cairo to Luxor caught fire.
  • 2002 (July 11th) TOKYO, Japan -- Thousands of people have been asked to evacuate their homes as tropical storm Chataan swirls its way north up the eastern coast of Japan. Even as Chataan churned along Japan's Pacific coast, a new and stronger storm, Typhoon Halong, gathered speed southwest of Guam, packing winds of around 126 kilometers per hour. In Japan, heavy rains and flooding triggered by Chataan prompted calls for more than 100,000 people to evacuate areas north of Tokyo on Thursday, according to wire reports. Officials in Kesennuma, a low-lying coastal city, recommended that some 60,000 people evacuate as a precautionary measure.
  • 2002 (July 27th) At least 78 people have been killed and more than 115 injured in western Ukraine, when a military aircraft crashed into a crowd of spectators at an air show. Thousands of people watched in horror as the Russian-made Sukhoi Su-27 jet plummeted from the sky, exploding into flames amongst the crowded stands, in what has become the world's worst air show disaster.
  • 2002 (October 30th) Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City. fire in a Saigon International Trade Center Restaurant; 61 guests of a wedding reception died.
  • 2002 (Sept 24th) Twenty-one children were killed, most suffocated under a pile of bodies, and 47 hurt when a guardrail gave way in a dark stairwell at a Chinese school during a power blackout, hospital officials said on Tuesday. Police said they had detained seven people, including school officials and a local construction company boss, after the collapse. BEIJING. China.
  • 2002 (December 1st) Venezuela, Caracas: La Goajira nightclub fire; 47 people died.

2003 Crowd Disasters

  • 2003 (Feb 18th) Chicago (USA) At least 21 people have been killed and several others critically injured in a scramble to flee a crowded Chicago nightclub after someone released pepper spray or mace. People were reportedly trampled in a rush for the door at the two storey Epitome Night Club. There were more than 1,500 people in the venue when someone released the spray into the air around 2am. Police officer, Ozzie Rodriguez, said: "There was some kind of congestion from within the establishment. People were heading for the door," Medical teams from local hospitals are at the site, along with several ambulances and paramedics.
  • 2003 (Feb 19th) Two days after Tuesday's arson attack, 387 people were still listed as missing. More than 120 died. DAEGU, South Korea. Investigations Thursday focused on the possibility that human error by train operators may have more than doubled the death toll. Operators allowed the second train, where more than 70 victims apparently perished, to pull into the blazing underground station even though they knew an earlier train was on fire at the platform, police announced Thursday, citing radio transcripts between the engineer and rail controllers. Officials also hesitated to evacuate the passengers, wasting minutes that could have saved lives, police said. As the train approached the blaze, the driver was waved on by a controller who advised only: ``When you enter the Joongang Station, drive carefully. There is a fire.'' Authorities on Thursday said they had identified only 46 of the dead, and 388 people were still unaccounted for. Officials said the number of missing was inflated by double-reporting and other clerical glitches. The arson suspect, Kim Dae-han, 56, has a history of mental illness and was trying to commit suicide, police said. Kim told police ``he decided to die with others in a crowded place, rather than die by himself,'' authorities said. The suspect, who was hospitalized with light burns, had once threatened to burn a hospital where he received what he considered was unsatisfactory treatment, local media reported. Subway passengers said he used a cigarette lighter to set fire to a container filled with gasoline or another flammable liquid. Officials said 146 people were injured in the attack, 34 of them seriously. The fire quickly spread through the six-car train. The second train arrived at the station minutes later and was also engulfed in flames. Critics said Tuesday's tragedy revealed problems with the nation's emergency response system and a potential vulnerability to terrorism. Had the train been equipped with fire-resistant seats and floor tiles, many said, it probably would not have burst into flames. And an apparent lack of emergency lighting left victims groping in the dark after the lights went out. Roh said Thursday he would instruct officials to inspect the South Korean subway system's safety features and upgrade them if necessary ``so such an incident never takes place again.'' The nationwide network carries 6.5 million passengers daily, and subway officials promised to install emergency lighting, increase the number of exit signs, make car interiors flame-resistant and heighten security.
  • 2003 (Feb 21st) At least 100 people died after a massive fire broke out late today during a rock concert at a club in the eastern US state of Rhode Island, the state's governor said. The governor estimated the number of people inside the small club at around 350 and said the speed with which the fire spread was a major factor behind the heavy death toll. "If you were not out of that building in 30 seconds you didn't have a prayer," he said, adding that the main priority now was to identify the remains of those who died. An investigation is underway into how the fire started.
  • 2003 14 Muslim pilgrims crushed. Mina, Saudi Arabia. This accident was a result of pilgrims begin crushed by a bus.
  • 2003 (14th May) At least 15 concertgoers were killed in a crowd crush near the front of the stage (and possibly near the entrance) at a pop concert by Koffi Olomide at Friendship Stadium in Cotonou, Benin, on Saturday. The promoter did not notify local police of the crowd management tragedy until after the concert for fear of it being cancelled, according to a report by the BBC. Authorities say there will be an investigation.
  • 2003 (Aug 27th) At least 32 dead in Hindu pilgrim stampede. NASIK, India.  Stampeding pilgrims have trampled at least 32 people to death, many of them elderly women, at a Hindu festival. The tragedy happened on Wednesday as thousands of pilgrims pushed and shoved along a narrow lane to a bathing pond on the banks of the Godavari river at Nasik in Western India to cleanse their sins. "I saw many people being crushed in front of my eyes," sobbed Suman Mahashinde, barely able to speak as she waited outside a hospital for injured relatives. "My 60-year-old mother-in-law was pushed and people stamped on her. She died on the spot. It was very difficult for us to get out of the crowd carrying her." One witness said several bodies were trapped in a huge pipe routing muddy water from the fast-flowing Godavari through the Ramkund bathing pond. More than 100 people were injured. "Among the dead most of them are women. Officials are trying to retrieve the bodies from the water," police officer J.D. Tambe told Reuters, adding 26 of the dead were women. As the wailing ambulances carried off the dead and injured and rescuers scrambled to overcome a lack of stretchers, hundreds of thousands of other apparently oblivious pilgrims continued bathing at other points along the river. Millions of devotees had gathered in the holy town of Nasik and neighbouring Trimbakeshwar for one of the most auspicious days of the Kumbh Mela, or Grand Pitcher festival, which comes to the towns only once every 12 years. The tragedy at Nasik, about 200 km (125 miles) northeast of Bombay, came just two days after India's financial capital was hit by two bombs planted in taxis, killing 51 people. Some of the victims were pilgrims on their way to or from the Kumbh, stopping off for some sightseeing. Before Wednesday's deaths, pilgrims and the media had criticised organisers for poor crowd control and having inadequate facilities to cope with such an emergency. It was the worst stampede at such a festival since 50 people died in 1986 at Haridwar on the Ganges River. The precise cause of Wednesday's tragedy is unclear. Police commissioner P.T. Lahor told ZEE television it began after a sadhu, or holy man, threw some silver coins in the air as an offering and many people bent down to pick them up. But other officials were quoted as saying the stampede had started after some barricades collapsed. Nasik has hundreds of temples and bathing ghats lining the river and is revered by Hindus as the place where the god-king Ram and his wife Sita were sent to exile. Nasik is also one of four legendary places where the nectar of immortality is believed to have fallen to earth after spilling from a pitcher as gods and demons fought over it. One witness said several bodies were trapped in a huge pipe routing muddy water from the fast-flowing Godavari through the Ramkund bathing pond. More than 100 people were injured. "Among the dead most of them are women. Officials are trying to retrieve the bodies from the water," police officer J.D. Tambe told Reuters, adding 26 of the dead were women.

2004 Crowd Disasters

  • 2004 (Jan 23rd) - BOMBAY - At least 51 people died when a spark from the holy flame set fire to a makeshift palm-frond hall at a wedding ceremony in Southern India, says a district official. The fire occurred in Srirangam, a famous Hindu temple town 200 miles south of Madras, the state capital. The building was 300 feet from the 10th century Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, the main attraction in the town. Many victims may have been crushed to death as panicked guests stampeded through the hall's narrow entrance in the Hindu temple town of Srirangam, on a river island 315 km (200 miles) south of the Tamil Nadu state capital, Chennai, he said. "Hospital authorities have told me that they have received 51 bodies and I fear the toll may be higher as there are many who are seriously injured as well," the official, K. Manivasan, said. About 500 guests were at the ceremony when the fire started.
  • 2004 (Jan 25th) - Miami - Several people, including a baby, have died after a fire swept through a Comfort Inn motel in South Carolina, according to a fire department official. A dispatcher at the Wade Hampton fire department said on Sunday a dozen people were injured after the blaze broke out at around 4:00 a.m. local time(9.00 a.m. British time) in Greenville, a town in the northwestern part of the state, while hotel guests slept. Survivors, bundled up in hotel blankets in the freezing rain, told local media they jumped out of second-story windows. Some tied sheets together to reach safety from higher floors of the five-story building. The cause of the fire was not known. The building did not have a sprinkler system as it was built before they became mandatory. Wade Hampton Fire Chief Gary Downey said more people might have survived if they had stayed in their rooms, put wet towels at the bottom of their doors and waited to be rescued. "The people that came out of their rooms, they didn't have much of a chance," Downey told NBC 17 television. Comfort Inn is a franchise of Choice Hotels International.
  • 2004 (2nd Feb) - Mena Valley - Jamarat Bridge - Saudi to revamp holy sites after 251 die MENA, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has set up a high-level committee to restructure Islam's holiest sites after 251 Muslims were killed in a stampede during the annual haj pilgrimage. The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Monday that King Fahd had issued a decree ordering formation of the Committee for the Development of Mecca and Medina, adding it would be headed by senior ministers and princes from the birthplace of Islam. The251 victims, mainly from Indonesia, Pakistan and other Asian nations, were trampled to death at the climax of the haj during a devil-stoning ritual that has in the past witnessed similar disasters. The tragedy occurred after some people collapsed as a two-million strong crowd surged towards the Jamarat Bridge in Mena to throw stones at pillars representing the devil. The crush occurred on the first day of the Eid al-Adha, a Muslim feast to commemorate Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail at God's command. SPA said the committee would draft a new layout for Mena and other holy sites. It would be funded and supported by all the kingdom's ministries. Authorities said they had tried to avert stampedes this year by urging people to perform the ritual at different times. "There were more than 400 metres of people pushing in the same direction (which) resulted in the collapse of those next to the stoning area and those behind. That led to panic," Pilgrimage Affairs and Endowments Minister Iyad bin Amin Madani told reporters after the incident.
  • 2004 (Feb 5th) - Beijing -  festival disaster kills 37 BEIJING (Reuters) - At least 37 people have been killed and 15 injured at a lantern festival in a north suburb of the Chinese capital, doctors say. "As far as I know, 37 people were killed and 15 were injured," a doctor at Miyun County Hospital told Reuters on Thursday. The Chinese Lunar New Year lantern and fireworks display ended in disaster when spectators packed on a metal bridge died in a crush. The bridge, bedecked with red lanterns, spans a 100-metre canal. Nearly 20 ambulances with sirens wailing were seen speeding up a highway in direction of Miyun. Roads leading to the area were dotted with police cars. Witnesses said the accident happened in Mihong Park where frantic parents searched for their children in the freezing night. "There were all these people crowding on the bridge, probably a few hundred. With that many people, there was sure to be a problem. The railing also seemed low," said witness Chi Zhangfeng. "I heard lots of people screaming, it seemed like it happened pretty fast," he said. Officials had earlier told of a bridge collapse injuring several people, with fatalities unknown. Chinese set off fireworks, display lanterns and eat sweet dumplings for the Lantern Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the first lunar month.
  • 2004 (Feb 6th) - Moscow - 40 Dead in Moscow Metro Suicide Blast. A SUSPECTED suicide bomb tore through the Moscow metro during the morning rush hour, killing 40 people and wounding up to 150. Moscow police said they believed the blast was a terrorist attack. The Interfax news agency, citing police sources, said the Friday morning attack was carried out by a suicide bomber. The agency, quoting ambulance sources, said the death toll had reached 40. The explosion and a huge fire that followed sent choking clouds of smoke into the tunnels, the Emergency Situations Ministry said. The underground train and passengers were evacuated from Avtozavodskaya station, about 300 yards from the site of the explosion, said ministry spokesman Viktor Beltsov. The explosion was in the second wagon of a train after it left the Avtozavodskaya station and headed northwest to Paveletskaya station, on Moscow's busy circle line. The line is one of Moscow's deepest. More than 700 people have already been evacuated, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported. The majority of Russians are dependent on public transportation, and the spacious train wagons are usually packed tight during rush hour traffic.
  • 2004 (2nd March) - Iraq by JONATHAN MILLER. It was what everyone had secretly dreaded, but no one thought would actually happen. Gripped by terror, the two million people who thronged the streets of the sacred city just started running in panic. These scenes filmed by one of the pilgrims who had come to Karbala for this, the holiest day on the Shiite calendar. It had been the first time in 35 years that Shiite pilgrims were free to gather in such numbers to grieve the martyrdom of Hussein, grandson of the prophet. Today, scores ended up martyrs themselves. As the first rumors of the Karbala massacre spread through Baghdad, four explosions boomed across the capital from the northern Shiite suburb of Aramiya. The U.S. Army said this was the work of suicide bombers, killers who consider themselves martyrs. The target was another Shiite shrine, again the streets were filled with the faithful. Outside the hospital near the mosque, we met a man who said his three sisters had been killed. "What crime had they committed?" He wailed.
  • 2004 (March 11th) - Madrid. Crowd attack which killed 200 people and wounded 1,500. Officials said phones were apparently used as detonators on the 10 bombs that tore through four rush-hour trains. Ten terrorist bombs tore through trains and stations along a commuter line at the height of Madrid's morning rush hour. "This is mass murder,'' said a somber Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar following an emergency cabinet meeting, vowing to hunt down the attackers and ruling out negotiations with the ETA separatist group. The explosives used in the blasts were a type of dynamite that the ETA Basque separatist group normally uses, the Interior Ministry said following tests. But a US intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, "It's too early to tell. We're not ruling anything out.'' Panicked commuters abandoned bags and their shoes as they trampled each other to escape the Atocha terminal, where bombs struck two trains. Some fled into darkened, dangerous tunnels at the station, a bustling hub for subway, commuter and long-distance trains just south of Madrid's famed Prado Museum. The blasts began about 7.50 am, tearing through trains or platforms on the commuter line running to the Atocha station. At least two of the bombs went off in trains at that station. Worst hit was a double-decker train at the El Pozo station, where two bombs killed 70 people, fire department inspector Juan Redondo said. El Pozo is about six miles from Atocha.
  • 2004 (August 2nd) - Paraguay supermarket fire kills 283 Mon 2 Aug, 2004 3:14:21 GMT By Daniela Desantis ASUNCION, Paraguay (Reuters) - A fire has swept through a supermarket packed with shoppers on the Paraguayan capital's outskirts and killed at least 283 people, police say. More than 100 people were injured in an inferno that officials said was caused by a gas explosion near the food court of the huge Ycua Bolanos supermarket, causing part of the roof to collapse. Flames then engulfed a parking lot underneath. Police said the toll was expected to rise on Monday. "There are no words for this," said Orlando Correa, weeping minutes after identifying the corpse of his six-month-old nephew. He searched for his sister among lines of charred bodies in a nearby discotheque that became a makeshift morgue. Police said they were probing reports shoppers were trapped inside after the supermarket locked its doors to stop people looting or leaving without paying. Firefighters found its main door closed when they arrived, police said, but supermarket officials denied doors had been locked. Paraguay, a country of 6 million people, was calling it the nation's worst tragedy since a 1930s war with neighbouring Bolivia that killed thousands. In chaotic scenes, rescuers carried bodies, some black from burns and smoke, out of the supermarket in their arms. Firefighters took charred body remains out of the supermarket on stretchers. Television said there were about 700 people in the complex at the time but there was no official estimate. "There are still bodies inside the building, but firefighters cannot enter because of the ruins and the danger of collapse," Paraguayan police chief Humberto Nunez told Reuters.  Some of the burned bodies were found inside the supermarket hugging each other, including a woman with a small child in her arms, a firefighter told local radio. BURNED ALIVE IN CARS.  Other victims were burned alive in their cars as the blaze swept though a parking lot underneath the supermarket, local television reported. Dozens of ambulances and fire engines gathered outside the large supermarket, located in a working-class district, where residents of all economic classes do their Sunday shopping. Plumes of black smoke rose from its roof six hours after the blaze. The supermarket's owner was taken into custody and is being investigated, the prosecutor's office said. Some survivors were thrown on the backs of open trucks that were driven to hospitals. One woman wept outside the supermarket, waiting for news of her missing 14-year-old son. "I need information on my son. He's not in any of the hospitals I've contacted," she said. "It is a moment of huge grief and tension, and we are here to give a voice of support to people who are suffering so much," said President Nicanor Duarte Frutos, who rushed with his wife to the scene of the blaze. The disaster appeared to have stretched the emergency services of one of South America's poorest nations. Local television showed firefighters trying to plug holes in leaking water hoses with the soles of their boots. Local media called on citizens to donate basic supplies, like gloves, to hospitals. Private hospitals opened their doors to victims of the blaze but were short of respirators. neighbouring Argentina said it was sending Sunday night a Hercules transport plane with medical supplies to Paraguay.
  • 2004 (Sept. 2nd) Saudi Arabia  - Two Killed in IKEA Stampede. People gather at the new IKEA store in Jeddah where the stampede happened. Hundreds of shoppers drawn by a voucher offer rushed into an IKEA branch in western Saudi Arabia, causing a stampede that killed two people and injured sixteen. A Saudi and a Pakistani were among those killed, officials said. The nationality of the third person killed was not given. Furniture giant IKEA's branch in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah announced that it was offering credit vouchers to the first 250 customers, prompting some shoppers to camp outside overnight. Once the doors opened, the crowd surged forward, causing the stampede.
  • 2004 (November 20th) - LOME (Reuters) - At least 13 people died and others were injured in a crush at a demonstration in Togo Saturday to welcome an improvement in relations with the European Union, the West African country's government said. A huge crowd marched to President Gnassingbe Eyadema's residence to celebrate an EU decision this week to restart some aid programs, suspended since 1993 over concerns about the authoritarian rule of Africa's longest-serving leader. But in a rush to get into the courtyard, demonstrators jostled in a crush and were trampled on, witnesses said. The crowd in the capital Lome was several hundred thousand strong, far too big for the grounds of the residence, according to a government statement read out on state television. "The rush by the demonstrators led to crushes which injured people and several of them have succumbed to their wounds," the statement said, adding 13 were known to have died. The government had hailed the EU's decision as a major event although the bloc made clear it was restarting just some of its programs. Others would resume over the next 24 months only if the government keeps its commitments to democratic reform. Eyadema, who has been in power since 1967, has been working in recent months to improve ties with Europe. He freed some 500 prisoners, including opposition activists, in August and has pledged to improve his government's human rights record. But the EU has said it wants to see more progress, including the holding of free and fair elections in the country of some five million people whose average income is $310 per year At least 13 die in stampede in Togo Celebration turns deadly as crowd surges forward through gate EBOW GODWIN  Associated Press. LOME, Togo - A celebration at the gates of Togo's presidential palace turned into a stampede Saturday, killing at least 13 people as excited crowds tried to surge onto palace grounds in the capital of the tiny West African nation. Officials warned that the death toll could climb, as hospitals treated scores of other victims. The celebration was called to mark the easing of 11 years of European Union sanctions against President Gnassingbe Eyadema, Africa's longest-ruling leader. Large crowds of Eyadema's party members and others marched through the capital Saturday to the palace. When the palace gates were thrown open to admit them, the crushing throngs of celebrants tried to push through at once. Men and women's shoes and flip-flops, torn off in the crush, lay abandoned at the gates Saturday after the stampede. A government statement put the death toll at 13. Aid workers still were treating at least 50 people trampled by the crowd. The European Union announced Monday it would resume limited aid work with Togo, supporting humanitarian and human-rights projects only. The union suspended aid to Togo in 1993 after government forces allegedly killed hundreds during election violence. Most other international aid also has been suspended. EU officials said Monday they had noted initial moves toward democratic and human-rights reforms by Eyadema's regime but that full aid would resume only when Togo holds free and fair legislative elections. Government spokesman Pitang Tchalla said organizers of Saturday's celebration "underestimated the enthusiasm of participants who turned out in unexpected large numbers for today's event, meant to express thanks to the European Union and support for President Eyadema." Eyadema has ruled tiny Togo for 37 years. He assumed power in 1967, after leading Africa's first post-independence coup in 1963. Worldwide, only Fidel Castro has held power longer.
  • 2004 (December 31st) - Fire in Buenos Aires club kills 169. 9:47:40 GMT By Hilary Burke BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (Reuters) -A blaze in a Buenos Aires night club packed with young revellers celebrating the New Year holidays has killed at least 169 people and injured 375, as a stampeding crowd was trapped by locked exit doors, officials say. The blaze is thought to have been caused by a flare fired into the club's ceiling during a rock concert, sending burning debris onto the crowd of up to 4,000 people who desperately fought to flee the flames and suffocating smoke. "The fire spread in a minute and we were a mountain of people trying to escape," said survivor Ariel Monges,25, who lost a friend and a cousin in the fire and was searching for another friend at a city hospital on Friday. The blaze, which officials called one of Argentina's worst disasters, may have claimed more victims because four of the club's six doors were tied shut with wire, according to Interior Minister Anibal Fernandez. "It appears they were condemned to walk into a trap," Fernandez said. Mayor Anibal Ibarra said the emergency exit appeared to be shut" so that people wouldn't enter without paying" and firefighters had to break it open. Most of the victims are believed to have died from smoke inhalation. The rock band playing at the Republica Cromagnon club in the gritty, run-down neighbourhood of Once warned the crowd not to shoot flares due to the fire hazard, the mayor said. But after the first song, an hour before midnight on Thursday, a group fired one into the highly flammable foam ceiling. Flares and a whole array of fireworks are sold on streets all over Latin America for the New Year holiday festivities with little regulation. Lists at hospitals showed that most of the victims were in their teens and20s, but there were also children as young as 6 among the dead and injured. City Hall set up an emergency centre in the middle of the night for families to find out about victims. "The city does not remember such a grave situation," city health secretary Alfredo Stern said. PARENTS DESPERATE Police said the fire was extinguished quickly, but rescue workers spent a few hours removing people on stretchers from inside the club. Television showed pictures of the bodies lying on the sidewalks outside the club. Parents first rushed to the scene desperate to find their sons and daughters amid the chaos, but then flocked to the 14 hospitals where the dead and injured were taken. At a makeshift morgue in a garage beside the club, witnesses said 30bodies were lined up and family members were allowed to pass to identify them. "There was a girl who must have been around 10 years old," said Fernando Justiniano, a former fireman who helped in the rescue. "She was asphyxiated poor thing, and she was burned. "The blaze was the worst in the Americas since a supermarket fire in neighbouring Paraguay last August killed nearly 400 people. The owners are accused of closing the doors after the fire broke out to stop looting. Many other fires have occurred in Latin America in recent years because of fireworks. Exactly three years ago, more than300 people were killed when a fire roared through a crowded shopping area in the Peruvian capital Lima. The blaze started with an explosion at a shop selling fireworks for New Year parties. Thursday night's Buenos Aires club fire recalled a similar blaze in the United States in February 2003 when a pyrotechnics display at the start of a heavy metal concert ignited sound-proofing material at a club in Rhode Island, killing 100 people and injuring nearly 200.The Argentine capital's last major tragedies were a bombing against the Israeli Embassy in 1992 and another one in a Jewish community centre in 1994. More than 100 people died in the two attacks. 

2005 Crowd Disasters

  • 2005 (January 25th) 150 die in religious stampede, Wai, India. Thousands of Hindus panicked during a religious procession in western India, triggering a stampede that killed at least 150 people. Many more people were injured. The stampede occurred near the village of Wai, 150 miles south of Bombay. Local leader Sharad Jadhav said he had been told by officials at the scene that 150 people were killed. Accounts differed on exactly what had happened. Jadhav said the stampede was caused by overcrowding, but police said it was triggered by a fire. "A fire caused by a short circuit in a makeshift shop near the temple created panic among the pilgrims. Some tried to flee the area, starting the stampede," said KK Pathak, the inspector-general of police in the region. The situation grew worse when a narrow path leading to the temple became jammed with pilgrims. More than 300,000 people are reported to have gathered for the Hindu festival, said AD Ingle, deputy superintendent of police in the area. Hindus congregate every year at the hilltop temple of the Hindu goddess Mandra Devi on a full moon night. Stampedes are not uncommon at major Hindu religious festivals, which can attract millions of worshippers. Authorities are often unable to cope with the huge crowds. Stampede and fire kill hundreds in India. Tue 25 Jan, 2005 14:45:07 GMT. BOMBAY (Reuters) - As many as 300 Hindu pilgrims, including women and children, may have been crushed or burned to death in a stampede and fire near a temple in western India, the district's top official has said. A fire broke out in roadside stalls when more than 150,000 people were on an annual pilgrimage to the popular Mandher Devi temple, on a hilltop near Wai, about 162 miles southeast of Bombay, witnesses said. Scores were crushed to death on the steep and narrow hill path leading to the temple and many others were charred, they said. Reporters saw at least 100 bodies at the site. "We cannot confirm it, but it appears that 250 to 300 people are dead, "Subbarao Patil, district collector for Satara district where the temple is located, told a correspondent for Asia News International television on Tuesday. "This does not include the people who may have been charred to death in the shops that have been gutted nearby in the fire. "Dishevelled and mangled bodies were lined up and tin-roofed stalls were smouldering near the temple and the adjoining settlement, situated on a craggy hilltop about 4,000 feet (1,220metres) high, the ANI reporter said. "There more than a hundred dead bodies lying around and dozens of others have already been sent down to Wai by bus," she told Reuters by phone. "It is utter mayhem here. The sheds are still smouldering."WET STEPS. Witnesses said the stampede started around midday after pilgrims slipped on the temple's steep stone steps, which had become wet from coconuts broken as an offering to the local deity Kalubai. A fire then broke out in shops nearby and gas cylinders exploded, officials said. The 300-year-old temple is popular among lower caste Hindus who undertake the annual pilgrimage on a full-moon day in January and participate in a 24-hour-long festival that includes ritual animal sacrifices to the goddess. In 2003, more than 32 people died at a stampede in Nasik, another town in the western Maharashtra state, during the Kumbh Mela, or Grand Pitcher festival.
  • 2005 (February 9th) London - Edmonton. Man Stabbed in Ikea Opening Chaos. Safety fears forced the store to shut 30 minutes after it opened. A man was stabbed and several people hurt in the crush as a crowd of thousands forced a flagship Ikea superstore to close on its opening night. Cars were abandoned on the roadside and customers were crushed in the chaos which ensued after the furniture store in north London launched at midnight. The new outlet in Edmonton, the biggest Ikea in England, was due to trade for a full 24 hours, but shut up shop within around half an hour after an "unforeseen volume of customers'' descended in the early hours. A spokeswoman said it was decided to close for the safety of customers and staff, and the store would remain shut until further notice. "Ikea Edmonton regrets to announce that a decision has been taken to close the store on opening night. "The decision was made in the interests of health and safety for all Ikea customers and co-workers,'' she said. 
  • 2005 (February 27th) OUAGADOUGOU, West Africa. Two die at gala opening of African film festival. Sun 27 Feb, 2005 3:22:29 GMT OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - Two people have died in a stampede ahead of the free gala opening ceremony for Africa's Fespaco film festival in a football stadium in Burkina Faso, festival officials said. The two people died at the national football stadium in Ouagadougou, the dusty capital of this West African nation which hosts the continent's biggest film festival every two years." The official opening ceremony of the 19th Fespaco ... claims two deaths and 15 injured persons as a result of a stampede," the festival organisers said in a statement. The statement said police blamed the incident on Saturday on crowd reaction. When the August 4 stadium opened early in the afternoon, people rushed in, racing to get to the stand which receives most shade from the sun, witnesses said. In the crush, people fell from an upper balcony and two oft hem died, they added. "Everyone rushes to go in, mainly because it's free. Nobody pays anything, so everyone wants to come n and watch the spectacle," said a fire officer at the scene. The accident happened several hours before the gala event which drew 35,000 people. It was the first time deaths were registered at the opening ceremony for the festival, which began in 1969.Festival director Baba Hama asked for a minute's silence later as the opening ceremony got underway. It featured a performance by Malian musician Salif Keita and fireworks. But the fireworks also went wrong, with some heading directly into the crowds. One person was slightly injured and another was treated for shock. The biennial Pan-African Cinema and Television Festival, or Fespaco, runs from February 26 until March 5.Twenty feature-length movies will compete for the top Etalon de Yennenga, or Golden Stallion of Yennenga, prize. Crushes at football stadiums are not uncommon in Africa. Last October, a stampede after a power cut in Togo caused the death of three people at a soccer match. Two die at gala opening of African film festival Sun 27 Feb, 2005 3:22:29 GMT OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - Two people have died in a stampede ahead of the free gala opening ceremony for Africa's Fespaco film festival in a football stadium in Burkina Faso, festival officials said. The two people died at the national football stadium in Ouagadougou, the dusty capital of this West African nation which hosts the continent's biggest film festival every two years. "The official opening ceremony of the 19th Fespaco ... claims two deaths and 15 injured persons as a result of a  stampede," the festival organisers said in a statement. The statement said police blamed the incident on Saturday on crowd reaction. When the August 4 stadium opened early in the afternoon, people rushed in, racing to get to the stand which receives most shade from the sun, witnesses said. In the crush, people fell from an upper balcony and two of them died, they added. "Everyone rushes to go in, mainly because it's free. Nobody pays anything, so everyone wants to come in and watch the spectacle," said a fire officer at the scene. The accident happened several hours before the gala event which drew 35,000 people. It was the first time deaths were registered at the opening ceremony for the festival, which began in 1969. Festival director Baba Hama asked for a minute's silence later as the opening ceremony got underway. It featured a performance by Malian musician Salif Keita and fireworks. But the fireworks also went wrong, with some heading directly into the crowds. One person was slightly injured and another was treated for shock. The biennial Pan-African Cinema and Television Festival, or Fespaco, runs from February 26 until March 5. Twenty feature-length movies will compete for the top Etalon de Yennenga, or Golden Stallion of Yennenga, prize. Crushes at football stadiums are not uncommon in Africa. Last October, a stampede after a power cut in Togo caused the death of three people at a soccer match.
  • 2005 (14th Februaru) 35 die in Tehran mosque blaze Mon 14 Feb, 2005 18:17:49 GMT By Parisa Hafezi TEHRAN (Reuters) - Thirty-five people have been killed and 200 injured when a faulty electrical heater started ablaze in a Tehran mosque crowded with worshippers for a major Shi'ite Muslim festival, Iranian state television has reported. Aid workers and emergency services warmed around the mosque, a Reuters witness said. The inside of the mosque was blackened and littered with burned shoes and clothes. Many people flocked to the mosque searching for loved ones. "I have come to look for my daughter but I am scared she is dead," said Zeinab, clad in the all-enveloping black chador. The students' news agency ISNA reported on Monday a blast was heard then tents inside the mosque caught fire. Terrified worshippers trampled others trying to escape, some smashing windows in their desperation to escape the flames. "I saw some women throw themselves out of a second floor window, some died like that, others from smoke inhalation," said one of the guards at the mosque. ISNA reported the blaze started in the section set aside for women. Television said twenty of the dead were women. "My mother and two sisters were inside and I do not know what happened to them," said a girl called Manizheh, sobbing. State television put out an appeal fo rpeople to give blood. Shi'ite Muslims are pouring into mosques to commemorate the death of the seventh century Shi'ite martyr Hossein, who was killed on the battlefield of Kerbala in Iraq. Tents are common props in plays commemorating Hossein's last days. Mosques are also draped with many hangings. Intelligence ministry officials were seen taking away pieces of the heater to determine the cause of the blaze. Dozens die in Tehran mosque blaze Tue 15 Feb, 2005 8:03:01 GMT By Parisa Hafezi TEHRAN (Reuters) - Fifty-nine people have been killed and more than 200injured when a faulty electrical heater started a blaze in a Tehran mosque crowded with worshippers for a major Shi'ite Muslim festival, Iranian state media report. Aid workers and emergency services warmed around the mosque. The interior was blackened and strewn with burnt shoes and clothes. Tehran's deputy police chief Morteza Talai said on Monday 59 people had died and 219 were injured. Many people flocked to the Arg mosque searching for relatives and friends. "I have come to look for my daughter rbut I am scared she is dead," said Zeinab, clad in the all-enveloping black chador. The students news agency ISNA reported a blast was heard then tents inside the mosque caught fire. Terrified worshippers trampled others trying to escape, some smashing windows in their desperation to flee the flames. "I saw some women throw themselves out of a second floor window, some died like that, others from smoke inhalation," said one of the guards at the mosque. ISNA reported the blaze started in the section set aside for women. Television said 20 of the dead were women. "My mother and two sisters were inside and I do not know what happened to them," said a girl called Manizheh, sobbing. Mohammad Sharifnia, a doctor, said many of the burns were caused by the quick-burning acrylic material used to make chadors. He saw many people with lacerations from broken glass. Others had broken legs after hurling themselves from high windows. State television put out an appeal for people to give blood. Shi'ite Muslims are pouring into mosques to commemorate the death of the seventh century Shi'ite martyr Hossein, who was killed on the battlefield of Kerbala in Iraq. Tents are common props in plays commemorating Hossein's last days. Mosques are also draped with many hangings. Intelligence ministry officials were seen taking away pieces of the heater to determine the cause of the blaze The Arg mosque is near Tehran's sprawling bazaar and is used for political meetings of the bazaar's conservative guilds.
  • 2005 (28th Feb) Bagdad. Suicide Bomber Kills 125 Iraqi Job Seekers Naseer Al-Nahr, Arab News BAGHDAD, 1 March 2005 — A man drove a car full of explosives into a crowd of people applying for police jobs in Hilla, 100 km south of the capital, yesterday and detonated it. At least 125 people were killed and another 130 wounded in the single bloodiest attack in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. The 9.30 a.m. blast was so powerful it nearly vaporized the bomber’s car, leaving only its engine partially intact. The injured were piled into pickup trucks and ambulances and taken to nearby hospitals. The bomber blew the car up next to a line of recruits waiting at a health center to take an eye test so they could join the Iraqi police, witnesses said. Many of those killed were at the market across the road, and were caught in the blast as they shopped. “I was standing in the queue when I saw this Mitsubishi coming slowly toward us,” Ameer Hassan, one of the recruits, said at a nearby clinic. “Then it blew up in a huge fireball. When I opened my eyes again, I was in hospital.” Smoke rose from the wreckage of burned-out market stalls as bystanders loaded mangled corpses on to rickety wooden carts, usually used to carry fruit and vegetables. Others, their limbs ripped to shreds, were piled into the back of pick-up trucks. Nearby buildings were pockmarked by shrapnel. People wept, clutched their heads in despair and shouted “Allah-o-Akbar” as rescuers led the injured away. “The suicide bomber came from a nearby alleyway,” said Zeyd Shamran. “There were two people in (the car) and when it stopped one man got out, shook hands and kissed the other man.” Moments later the car exploded, he said. Following a funeral procession in Hilla, many of the dead will be taken to Najaf for burial. Hilla is located just south of the so called “Triangle of Death,” the mixed Sunni-Shiite region south of the capital that has earned the nickname owing to the frequency of insurgent bombing. Angry crowds gathered outside the hospital demanding to know the fate of their relatives. “I was lucky because I was the last person in line when the explosion took place. Suddenly there was panic and many frightened people stepped on me. I lost consciousness and the next thing I was aware of was being in the hospital” said Muhsin Hadi, 29, a recruit. One of his legs was broken in the blast. A second car bomb exploded yesterday at a police checkpoint in Musayyib, about 30 km north of Hilla, killing at least one policeman and wounding several others, police said on condition of anonymity. In Baghdad, the US military said it was investigating the death of a US soldier who was shot dead manning a traffic checkpoint in the capital a day earlier. Nearly 1,500 US troops have died since the war began in March 2003. In central Baghdad, Iraqi troops blocked main avenues leading to and from Firdous Square, the roundabout in central Baghdad where Iraqis toppled a statue of Saddam Hussein on April 9, 2003. Occasional shots and busts of automatic weapons fire could be heard during the sweep of the Battaween area, know locally as the Sudanese district. Several people believed to be Sudanese were seen being arrested by police. Some of Baghdad’s past suicide bombers have in the past been identified as Sudanese. In Al-Mashahda, 40 km north of Baghdad, police found three unidentified corpses that had their hands tied together with plastic cuffs, the police commissioner Abbas Abdul Ridha said. — Additional input from agencies
  • Explosion at Qatar theatre kills one Sat 19 Mar, 2005 22:26:36 GMT By Odai Sirri DOHA (Reuters) - One person has been killed and at least 12 hurt afte ran explosion rocked a small theatre near a British school in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, says a Qatari official. Brigadier General Ahmad al-Hayki of Qatar's Interior Ministry told satellite television Al Jazeera on Saturday that one person was killed in the blast in the capital, Doha. He declined to say whether it was an accident or an attack. "There was an explosion in the cafeteria inside the theatre building...We are still investigating the cause of the blast," Hayki said. He said nine of the 12 injured, including one Briton, had left hospital after being treated for minor injuries. The injured were mostly Qataris, other Arabs and Asians, he added without giving the nationality of the person who died. An Al Jazeera correspondent on the scene said about 100 people had been inside the Doha Players theatre, where William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" had been showing. A Reuters witness said the one-storey theatre had been badly damaged and that teams were clearing the rubble. White plumes of smoke rose above the building in central Doha. Police sealed off the Fareek Klaib district as investigators and sniffer dogs fanned out across the area. SHATTERED WINDOWS Witnesses said the force of the blast shattered windows of houses and cars along the residential bloc. Supporters of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden have staged attacks in neighbouring Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, but Qatar, a key U.S. ally, has seen no militant violence and prides itself on security. Oil-rich Qatar hosts the U.S. military's Central Command and was a launch pad for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq which began two years ago on Sunday. Asked if the blast had any links to militant attacks in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Hayki said: "We do not want to precede events. We have started gathering evidence. "Anti-U.S. sentiment has been high in the region over the Iraq war and perceived U.S. support for Israel against the Palestinians. A security guard at the British school ltold Reuters the blast shattered several windows in the school, which was closed at the time, and that a ceiling collapsed in an auditorium. He said about 40 teachers who live in the school compound were evacuated but that no one was hurt there. "There has been an explosion opposite the Doha English Speaking School," a Foreign Office spokesman in London said. "We have staff that are on their way there now to see if there are any casualties or what casualties there are. But they haven't had any reports on the casualties at this stage. "Last year, a car bomb in Doha killed exiled Chechen rebel leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev. Two Russian spies were handed life sentences by a Qatar court in the assassination but were handed over to Moscow in December 2003 at Russia's request.
  • At least 25 killed in Pakistan blast Sat 19 Mar, 2005 22:28:41 GMT By Shahid Gul Yusufzai QUETTA, Pakistan (Reuters) - At least 32 people have been killed and more than 40 wounded after a bomb exploded at a religious gathering at a minority Shi'ite Muslim shrine in southwest Pakistan late, say officials. The motive for the attack in Gandhawa, a small town in the south western province of Baluchistan, was not immediately clear, they said on Saturday. The province has been troubled by both sectarian and separatist violence. The bomb went off as food was being distributed after a late night ceremony at the shrine in Gandhawa, which is about 420 km (260 miles) north of Pakistan's largest city, Karachi. Faqir Ghulam Hussain, the shrine caretaker, said 32 bodies had been found and the final toll could be higher. "Limbs are still scattered overa large area," he said. "It was just like Doomsday. "It was a very big explosion," local police officer Rawat Khan told Reuters. Mehrab Khan, head of the local police station, said more than 40 people had been wounded. Police ruled out a suicide attack, a method used by majority Sunni Muslim militants in the past to attack Shi'ites. "The bomb was planted somewhere near where the food was served, "Khan said. "It created a five to six foot crater. "Provincial Home Secretary Humayun Khan said it was too early to say who was to blame, but added: "It is an act of terrorism. "Baluchistan, Pakistan's largest but poorest province, has a history of sectarian violence between Sunni and Shi'ite militants and has also been troubled recently by increased attacks by tribal militants fighting for more autonomy. SEPARATIST VIOLENCE On Thursday, eight soldiers were killed and 23 wounded in a battle with tribal militants on the outskirts of Dera Bugti, about 250 km (150 miles) southeast of the provincial capital, Quetta, the military said. A tribal politician said at least 50tribespeople died and more than 150were wounded in that fighting, which lasted more than 10 hours. On Friday, bombs exploded in two trains in the region, killing two people and wounding nine. Baluch militants have been waging a low-level insurgency in the province for decades for greater autonomy, but they have recently stepped up attacks on government targets, including natural gas and transport facilities. The military has beefed up security since a big militant attack on the country's largest gas field in Baluchistan on January 11, in which at least 15 people died, disrupted supplies for more than a week. This month, police said they had arrested an Islamic militant who played a key role in two big sectarian attacks on Shi'ite Muslims in 2003 and2004 in Quetta, which killed more than100 people. Ramzan Mengal, a senior leader of the outlawed Sunni Muslim militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, was arrested in Quetta. Pakistani police blame the group for most of the sectarian bloodletting in Pakistan in recent years and security analysts say it has long had close ties with al Qaeda, which has tried to destabilise President Pervez Musharraf's government since he joined the U.S.-led war on terror in2001.Most of Pakistan's Sunnis and Shi'ites live peacefully side by side, but hundreds have died over the past 15years in tit-for-tat attacks by militants from the two sects. Shi'ites account for about 15 percent of Pakistan's 150 million people.
  • BP Texas oil refinery blast kills 14Thu 24 Mar, 2005 5:58:17 GMT TEXAS CITY, Texas (Reuters) - A powerful explosion at a BP oil refinery in Texas has turned the complex into a raging inferno where at least 14people have died and another 100have been injured. The blast on Wednesday at the giant470,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) facility, the third-largest in the United States, was isolated to a unit used to upgrade the quality of gasoline, with the rest of the refinery operating normally, BP said. U.S. gasoline prices spiked to an all-time high above $1.60 a gallon as dealers feared a cut in supplies from the plant, which produces about 3percent of the nation's gasoline. The explosion, whose cause was unknown, was so strong it rattled buildings and broke windows for miles around and sent residents of the heavily industrialized town beside Galveston Bay scurrying for BP did not suspect a terrorist attack had caused the blast at the sprawling1,200-acre (486-hectare) facility. "We have no reason to believe this was anything caused by an outside agent, "said company spokesman Hugh Depland. Flames shot out from the twisted metal of the badly damaged facility and a huge cloud of black smoke rose high into the sky before fire fighters doused the blaze. Rescue teams combed through piles of rubble and the remains of shattered buildings in the plant to search for the dead and injured while ambulances raced the victims to hospitals where tearful family members waited for news of their loved ones. "We believe 14 people lost their lives as a result of the fire," BP site director Don Parus told reporters. "It's a sad day for BP."BP officials and area health officials said at least 100 people were injured and that some were in critical condition. Plant spokesman Bill Stephens said more than 70 of the injured had been working in the refinery. The others were outside the complex and hurt by flying glass and falling ceiling tiles. LIMITED IMPACT The blast occurred in an isomerization unit used to produce octane for gasoline, which had been running normally before the explosion, company officials said. Several nearby secondary refining units were already idle for scheduled maintenance. Plant employee John Yarbor told a local television station he was 90 feet(27 metres) from the unit when it exploded. He felt the full force of the blast, but suffered no major injuries. "It literally lifted you up and slammed you to the ground," he said. "I could feel the heat on me and just ran. "Rose Martin, who works near the refinery, said: "It shook everything. As soon as I walked out the door (to see it), it was nothing but fire and black smoke. "The explosion came almost a year to the day after another blast and fire rocked the refinery and chemical complex. On March 30, 2004, a large explosion and fire occurred in a gasoline-making unit but there were no injuries. That 2004 accident resulted in citations for 14 alleged violations from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA has begun an investigation into the latest incident, the company said. BP took over the plant, which first began operations in 1934, when it bought U.S. company Amoco in 1999.BP's U.S.-listed shares closed 2.4percent, or $1.51, lower at $62.01 a share on the New York Stock Exchange. Texas City, 35 miles (56 km) southeast of Houston, is home to several petrochemical and refining plants and no stranger to disaster. In April 1947, Texas City was the site of one of the worst industrial accidents in the United States when a ship full of fertilizer component ammonium nitrate blew up, killing as many as 800 and injuring an estimated 5,000.
  • Ghana port fire kills at least 3 Fri 25 Mar, 2005 16:01:57 GMT By Kwaku Sakyi-Addo TEMA, Ghana (Reuters) - At least three people have been killed and up to 14 others are feared dead after they were trapped on a boat during a fire at Ghana's main port of Tema, government and port officials say." At least three are confirmed dead because we have seen the bodies, "Ports Minister Ameyaw Akumfi told Reuters on Friday. Firefighters had put out the flames on the vessel. Ben Owusu-Mensah, director-general of the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority, said he believed 17 people had been trapped on the vessel in total and there was no chance any of them had survived. The fire damaged Ghana's sole oil refinery and a supply belt to its Valco aluminum smelter, witnesses said. Plumes of smoke wafted across the port as flames leapt from pipelines and patches of oil on the water .A conveyor belt running between the Valco aluminum smelter, jointly owned by U.S.-based Alcoa Inc. and the government was damaged in the blaze, said Owusu-Mensah. "The conveyor belt which leads from the Valco smelter to the port, about 300 metres of it has been completely burnt," he told Reuters. He said the damage was very likely to delay the restart of Valco's operations in Tema. The smelter is expected to restart in June, part of plans by the world's biggest aluminum producer to help develop an integrated aluminum industry in the West African country. No Valco officials were immediately available to comment. Owusu-Mensah said the Tema oil refinery had shut down its pipeline but residual oil in it was still burning. "The biggest blow is that the pumping room of the refinery has been completely destroyed by fire," he said. Ghana is not a big oil producer and the Tema refinery is mostly for domestic use. Cocoa, coffee, cotton are all shipped through Tema, which lies just east of Accra, the capital of the world's second-biggest cocoa grower and also a major gold producer in Africa. The port has seen business boom thanks to instability in West African neighbour Ivory Coast, but officials say it lacks the infrastructure to cope.
  • 25th March 2005: Five crushed to death in Iran. At least five people were crushed to death and 40 others injured after a World Cup qualifying match in Tehran, Iran. thousands of spectators rushed to the exits of the Tehran Azadi stadium on Friday night, after Iran beat Japan 2-1 in the Group B qualifying match for the 2006 World Cup finals. More than 100,000 spectators packed the stadium, and all rushed for the exits at the end of the match, causing the stampede, local doctors said. There was no reason for the rush for the doors.
  • Wed 6 Apr, 2005 Six die in Bangladesh Hindu festival stampede 9:32:46 GMT DHAKA (Reuters) - At lest six people have been killed and several injured in a stampede during a Hindu religious festival in Bangladesh, police say. Six people -- including four women and a child -- died when thousands of Hindu devotees rushed to take holy dip in a pool at Kasiani, about 160 miles southwest of the capital Dhaka, a police officer said on Wednesday. Thousands of Hindus are taking part in a week-long annual bathing ritual, held to celebrate the birth anniversary of medieval saint Hary Chand Thakur. Hindus make up around 10 percent Bangladesh's nearly 140 mostly Muslim people.
  • Wed 31st August 2005. Hundreds die in Human Stampede - Iraq. At least 640 people have died after a railing collapsed on a bridge packed with Shiite worshippers marching in a religious procession, sending crowds tumbling into Iraq's Tigris River. The dead included women and children, a senior police official said. One survivor said panic ensued when people heard that a suicide bomber was in the crowd. Tension was running high in the crowd because of a mortar attack two hours earlier against the shrine where the marchers were heading. Iraqi Deputy Interior Minister Hussein Ali Kamal said the death toll stood at least 640 but the figure could rise. Survivors were rushed in ambulances and private cars to numerous hospitals and officials were scrambling to compile an accurate crowd. Bare-chested men swam through the muddy river looking for bodies. "We were on the bridge. It was so crowded. Thousands of people were surrounding me,'' said survivor Fadhel Ali, 28, as he stood bare footed and soaking wet after swimming from the river. "We heard that a suicide attacker was among the crowd. Everybody was yelling so I jumped from the bridge into the river, swam and reached the bank. I saw women, children and old men falling after me into the water.'' Health Minister Abdul-Mutalib Mohammed told state-run Iraqiya television that there were "huge crowds on the bridge and the disaster happened when someone shouted that there is a suicide bomber on the bridge.'' "This led to a state of panic among the pilgrims and they started to push each other and there was many cases of suffocation,'' he said. Hundreds of thousands of Shiites were marching across the bridge, which links a Sunni and Shiite neighbourhood, heading for the tomb of Imam Mousa al-Kadhim, a 9th century Shiite saint. About two hours earlier, mortar shells exploded in the shrine compound, killing at least seven people. US Apache helicopters fired at the attackers. At least six people died after drinking poisoned juice and food they received around the mosque, Dr Muhannad Jawad of the Yarmouk hospital said. After the bridge disaster, thousands of people rushed to both banks of the river searching for survivors. Hundreds of men stripped down and waded into the muddy water downstream from the bridge trying to extract bodies floating in the water. Television reports said about one million pilgrims from Baghdad and outlying provinces had gathered near the Imam Mousa al-Kadim shrine in the capital's Kazimiyah district for the annual commemoration of the Shiite saint's death. Shiite religious festivals have often been targeted for attack by Sunni extremists seeking to trigger civil war among the rival communities. In March 2004 suicide attackers struck worshippers at the Imam Kadhim shrine and a holy site in Karbala, killing at least 181 overall. The head of the country's major Sunni clerical group, the Association of Muslim Sholars, told Al-Jazeera television that the disaster was "another catastrophe and something else that could be added to the list of ongoing Iraqi tragedies.'' "On this occasion we want to express our condolences to all the Iraqis and the parents of the martyrs, who fell today in Kazimiyah and all over Iraq,'' the cleric, Haith al-Dhari, said.
  • Mon 5th Sept Poor Safety Measures Blamed as Egyptian Blaze Kills 32. Agencies. CAIRO, 7 September 2005 — At least 32 people perished in a fire in an Egyptian theater apparently set off by lighted candles used on stage, with the blaze provoking a deadly stampede as burning spectators tried desperately to flee. Flames swept through the theater in the town of Beni Suef on the banks of the Nile south of Cairo late on Monday in the deadliest inferno Egypt has witnessed in years. Poor safety measures were blamed for the tragedy as only one of two exits was working. Safety regulations in public places are rarely enforced in Egypt and television footage showed a man using just a small fire extinguisher to battle the flames. The performance of the play “Zoo” was part of an experimental theater festival that brought together actors from across Egypt. Interior Ministry sources said the dead included three actors, three students from an arts academy and three journalists, two of them from state-owned newspapers and one from the opposition Al-Wafd daily. “Egyptian theater will take a long time to recover from this tragedy,” playwright Nasser Abdel Moneim told AFP. Footage aired by Egyptian public television showed a man — his face distorted by pain and the flesh on his arms torn off by the flames — throwing himself to the ground and struggling to rip off his burning clothes. Actors and journalists were among the victims, sending shockwaves through the country’s artistic community. Hospital sources told the official MENA news agency that some of the bodies were burned beyond recognition while 12 of the 37 wounded were in serious condition and some had to be evacuated to the capital for treatment. Witnesses quoted by the Egyptian press said it took firefighters more than two hours to put out the fire, which started at about 11:30 p.m. (2030 GMT), reducing much of the theater to ashes and also destroying palm trees nearby. One witness told the state-owned Al-Akhbar newspaper that the fire transformed the theater into “hell.” Ministers Should Be Questioned Over Fire: Intellectuals Deutsche Presse-Agentur CAIRO, 9 September 2005 — A group of over 150 Egyptian intellectuals presented yesterday a request to the country’s General Prosecutor’s office demanding that three ministers be interrogated over a fire in a cultural center earlier this week that killed 32 people. The intellectuals, including writers, directors and artists, demanded the ministers of interior, health and culture be held accountable for Monday’s fire in the city of Beni Suef, 150 kilometers south of Cairo. Three prominent theater critics died in the fire, started from a burning candle used by one of the actors during a live performance. Initial investigations have shown that the cultural center had no emergency exit and no fire extinguishers. Director Nasser Abdel Monem said General Prosecutor Maher Abdel Wahed promised “a complete investigation that will prosecute whoever is responsible.” “This crime that caused such a huge loss in the Egyptian theater sector cannot pass unnoticed. The simplest thing is for these ministers to resign as a result of this human tragedy,” said prominent writer Sonallah Ibrahim.
  • 9th Sept 2005 Woman Dies in Plane Stampede Maha Akeel & Mohammed Rasooldeen COLOMBO/JEDDAH, 9 September 2005 — A woman passenger was killed and dozens were injured yesterday following a stampede on board a Jeddah-bound Saudi Arabian Airlines jumbo jet after a bomb scare. The bomb alert proved a hoax. Saudi Arabian Airlines said in a statement that the pilot of Boeing 747-300 Flight SV781 from Colombo to Jeddah via Riyadh received a call from the control tower at 10 a.m. while taxiing for takeoff that there was a bomb on the plane. He immediately decided to evacuate the plane that carried 424 passengers and 19 crewmembers. The tower and airport authorities directed the pilot to take the plane to a secluded area of the airport and evacuate the plane. The captain then ordered the opening of the emergency exits and rolling out of the slides. The Sri Lankan woman who died was wearing an abaya. She hit her head on the tarmac after sliding down the escape chute, said D. Atthanayake, airport duty manager, citing preliminary inquiries. “It was a chaotic situation,” he added. “Only tomorrow morning we will be doing the post-mortem,” said Dr. SC Wickramasinghe, who runs Negombo Hospital north of the capital where four other injured were being treated. At least 19 people were admitted to nearby hospitals while 75 others suffered bruises and other minor injuries, according to air force spokesman Ajantha de Silva. Police said bomb squad officers were checking the plane, but had found nothing and believed the bomb alert was a hoax. Security authorities at the airport said they were trying to trace the caller. The stranded passengers were put up in hotels near the Colombo airport. They will be brought to the Kingdom in an alternative plane. A Saudia source told Arab News that the alternative plane departed from Jeddah at 4 p.m. (Saudi time). An airline official at the Colombo International Airport told Arab News that the alternative flight would leave Colombo at 4 a.m. (Sri Lanka time) today, and would arrive in Riyadh at 6 a.m. and at Jeddah at 8.15 a.m. The incident came a day after peace broker Norway announced it had suggested the airport, named after President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s late father and former Prime Minister Solomon Bandaranaike, as a neutral venue for talks with Tamil Tiger rebels. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rejected the site in a statement issued to the media after the bomb hoax. — Additional input from agencies
  • Wed 26 Oct, 2005 2:09:03 GMT BEIJING (Reuters) China school stairway stampede kills seven  - A stairway stampede at a Chinese primary school killed seven children and injured 37, Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday. The accident happened on Tuesday as the children swarmed out of evening class at a school in the mainly agricultural western province of Sichuan, Xinhua said. Seven children were killed on the spot and five of the 37 injured were in hospital in critical condition. The stampede was being investigated, Xinhua said. But a local mayor had ruled out the possibility of a structural collapse, it added. Chinese high schools, especially those in rural areas, require students to attend evening classes to help them in fiercely competitive college entrance exams. But evening classes for primary-age children are rare. A 10-year-old fifth grader was killed and 25 children were injured in a school stampede in central Hubei province in October last year .The worst stampede in China in recent years took place in February last year during Lunar New Year festivities. Thirty-seven people were killed as they gathered for a lantern show on an overcrowded park bridge.
  • Monday, 31, October, 2005 (28, Ramadhan, 1426)  7 Die in Rush to Receive Zakat Hassan Adawi, Arab News JEDDAH, 31 October 2005 Seven people died and more than 40 were injured in a stampede in Makkah after prayers in the Grand Mosque as many hundreds rushed to grab charity cash handouts early yesterday. The incident occurred on Lailat Al-Qadr (the Night of Power) on Ramadan 27 when a philanthropist distributed zakat money directly to the needy in a car park some six kilometers from the mosque. Police rushed to the scene and eventually restored order, controlling the crowd sufficiently to allow access for ambulances from the Red  Crescent to get through to the dead and injured. They were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment and identification. Ahmad Al-Harbi, a resident of Makkah, told Arab News that he had helped in taking the injured to hospitals. He said those who had died in the stampede were taken to Al-Noor Hospital in Makkah. According to Al-Harbi, the crowd that gathered to receive the charity included Saudis as well as expatriates. He said that most of the injured were women and that this was the first time such a stampede had taken place during the distribution of zakat in the city. “More and more people rushed to the parking lot when they heard about the charity handouts,” Al-Harbi said while explaining the reason for the stampede. He said he noticed that the crowd that gathered for the charity included even some wealthier people who owned luxury cars. No foreign pilgrims were involved in the stampede.
  • Chennai (INDIA), December 18: Forty-two homeless people were trampled to death on Sunday and 37 were injured in a stampede during the distribution of flood relief supplies at a shelter in Chennai, officials and witnesses said. The early morning incident occurred as thousands of people lined up for the relief supplies. "Over 5,000 people rushed in as the gates of the shelter opened, causing the stampede," senior official S Chandramohan said. The official had earlier given a death toll of 43 but Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said that 42 people had died in the incident and 37 were injured.
  • Friday, 23 December, 2005 - Club Lipa, Slovenia - Two young girls (15 and 17 years old) died when a crowd of around 500 people waiting to enter the Christmas party started to push toward entrance. The organizer advertised the event with a "free taxi to the club from 9 to 10 pm, free entry till 10 pm and alcohol for 1 EUR" ads. The doors to the club were opened around 9 pm, when the people started to arrive in masses and the cloakroom workers could not handle the amount of people. The guards started to stop the people at the entrance door and allowed new people in only when there was enough space in the waiting line for the cloakroom. Around 10 pm, the crowd of 500 people outside the club started to push towards the entrance, so that they could get free entry. The left side fence could not handle the pressure so it broke and some people fell on it and on the red carpet leading to the club. Two girls, 15 and 17 years old were crushed by people. People inside the club found out about the situation outside later when police arrived and stopped the event. Police moved people away from the entrance so that people inside could leave in order without additional casualties.
  • Christmas fire kills at least 26 in south China bar Mon 26 Dec, 2005 3:40:29 GMT BEIJING (Reuters) - A Christmas day fire gutted a bar in south China, killing at least 26 people and injuring another eight, residents and state media said on Monday. Firefighters rushed to the scene and put out the blaze, which broke out shortly before midnight on Sunday at Tandao bar in Zhongshan, a city in Guangdong province, the media said. A police officer in Tanzhou township reached by telephone ruled out media speculation that arson was the cause of the fire, but declined further comment. "Witnesses said disco lights fell to the ground and exploded after the boss handed out Christmas gifts," a resident who lives nearby told Reuters. Police sealed off the street, where the bar occupied the first two storeys of a building, another resident named Chen said by telephone. "We've heard lots of rumours. Some said it was disco lights. Others said it was a gas pipe," Chen added. Christmas has been gaining popularity in recent years among young atheist Chinese, who find it fashionable to party.

2006 Crowd Disasters

  • Jan 5th 2006. 'Dozens killed' in hotel collapse. A hotel on the outskirts of Islam's holiest city Mecca has collapsed, security officials said, and pan-Arab television reported that there were dozens killed or injured. The television reports said it was the Louloat al-Kheir, while security officials said the Al-Ghaza Hotel had collapsed. The tragedy occurred in the early afternoon local time. Millions of Muslim faithful are flooding into Mecca for the annual haj pilgrimage that climaxes on Monday with the Eid al-Adha, a four-day feast. Mecca hotel collapse 'kills many' A hotel at the gates to Mecca's Islamic shrines in Saudi Arabia collapsed as millions of Muslims gathered in their holiest city for the annual hajj pilgrimage. Pan-Arab satellite television broadcasters reported dozens were killed or injured. The television reports said the Louloat al-Kheir, while security officials said the Al-Ghaza Hotel had collapsed. The tragedy occurred early afternoon local time. Millions of Muslim faithful are flooding into Mecca for the annual hajj pilgrimage that climaxes on Monday with the Eid al-Adha, a four-day feast. Islam's five pillars demand that followers profess there is one God and Mohammed is His prophet, pray five times daily, give alms, fast daily during the holy month of Ramadan and - if financially able - travel to Mecca at least once in their lifetime. The number of pilgrims to Mecca has increased eleven-fold over the past 15 years. During that time, the Saudi government spent billions of dollars to improve accommodation, transportation and medical facilities for the "guests of Allah." The massive gathering has been hit with tragedies frequently in recent years. The worst hajj-related tragedy occurred in 1990 when 1,426 pilgrims were killed in a stampede in an overcrowded pedestrian tunnel leading to holy sites in Mecca. In 2004, on the final day of the ceremonies, 251 people were trampled to death when the crowd panicked during the ritual stoning of the devil. Three years earlier, 35 hajj pilgrims were killed in stampede the same ceremony. In 1998, about 180 pilgrims were trampled to death when panic erupted after several of them fell off an overpass during the ritual. Four years earlier, in 1994, some 270 pilgrims killed in a stampede during the stoning ritual.Mecca hotel collapse kills 23 A five-storey hotel at a gate to the Grand Mosque in Islam's holiest city Mecca in Saudi Arabia collapsed into a pile of rubble as millions of Muslims converged on the city for the annual hajj pilgrimage. Al-Jazeera said at least 23 people were dead and 60 were injured. Rescue teams rushed to the site and were pulling bodies from beneath the wreckage. Security officials said most of the victims were Arabs from Egypt, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. The Al Ghaza Hotel, named for the district in which it is located, is about 60 metres from the Grand Mosque at the Bab al-Salam, or Gate of Peace. It is surrounded by local markets that stay open 24 hours during the pilgrimage, a major source of income in the holy city. The courtyard of the Grand Mosque encloses the Kaaba, a large cubic stone structure that Muslims face during their five daily prayers. Building Collapse Toll 76 Siraj Wahab & Maha Akeel, Arab News Pilgrims pray outside the Grand Mosque in Makkah on the last Friday before the Haj. (AP) MAKKAH/JEDDAH, 7 January 2006 — As the death toll in Thursday’s building collapse in Makkah climbed to 76, Interior Minister and Chairman of the Supreme Haj Committee Prince Naif called an emergency meeting of the committee today to discuss the cause of the tragedy and findings of the investigation. Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, spokesman of the Interior Ministry, said the number of people who died in the accident had risen to 76 — 48 men and 28 women. He put the number of the injured at 62. According to a Health Ministry official, 59 people have been rescued from the rubble. The Makkah Municipality yesterday washed its hands of the tragedy, claiming the building had no clearance from any of its officials. “We were nowhere in the picture in this particular case,” said a municipal official to Arab News on condition of anonymity. “The building was classified as a hotel and giving permissions for all hotels whether in the holy city or in the rest of the Kingdom is the responsibility of the Commerce Ministry. We are responsible only for buildings that are classified as residential accommodation. Hotels are classified as commercial establishments.” The same source in the municipality told Arab News that a strict regime of building standards and licensing is in place. “Our building inspectors regularly conduct inspections of pilgrim accommodation to ensure that highest standards of safety are maintained and that there is no overcrowding,” a source said. “But this building was not our responsibility... it is a hotel,” he said. Civil Defense Capt. Ziad Al-Zaidi also said: “The building was categorized as a hotel by the Ministry of Commerce.” This means that it was not among the buildings inspected by the pilgrims’ housing committee, which is responsible for checking the safety and health conditions of the residential buildings rented out to pilgrims and issuing them permits. A preliminary investigation carried out Thursday night revealed that the owner of the building, which had a 65-person capacity, had made additions to its structure illegally. “It was this additional structure that caved in leading to the complete collapse of the building,” said a planning engineer who had worked in the area to install mobile telecommunication towers for local telecom companies. “This particular building was always vulnerable,” he recalled. “Amidst all the solid, concrete high rise buildings in that particular area this building known as Luluat Al-Kheir was like, to give you an example, the Leaning Tower of Pisa... It was a death trap.” A government official, who did not want to be identified, also gave a similar version to the Al-Ekhbariya television station. “The building was 40 years old and its foundations were cracked and weak,” he told the Arabic TV news station. However, the hotel operator, Habib Turkistani, insisted that the structure was sound. “The building was in good shape, and what happened was a matter of fate and divine decree,” Turkistani told The Associated Press. Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Khalid Mirghalani said of the 59 people rescued, 24 were still in hospitals with various degrees of injuries. “The Ministry of Health will facilitate the completion of Haj for the 26 who are still in the hospitals by taking them in ambulances,” he told Arab News. The Civil Defense, Red Crescent Society and Ministry of Health personnel continued their rescue efforts all through Thursday night and yesterday. “Two women were brought out alive in the afternoon, which encouraged the rescue teams to continue their efforts carefully and diligently,” said a source with the Makkah health department. Rescue and recovery efforts ended at 6 p.m., according to the Civil Defense. 3 Indians Among Dead. There was still no official word on the nationalities of the victims. However, Indian Consul General Ausaf Sayeed said there were three Indian prilgrims among the dead. They have been identified as 70-year-old Muhammad Rajab Rather from Budgam district in Jammu and Kashmir, 47-year-old Ghulam Qadir Mir from Anantnag district in Jammu and Kashmir and 62-year-old Muhammad Mustafa Khairuddin from Calcutta, West Bengal. "Three other pilgrims are reported missing," Sayeed said. "Efforts are on to find out their whereabouts." “Muhammad Rajab Rather, along with his companion Muhammad Maqbool Dar, was in the Gazza area when the building came down. Maqbool Dar, like everybody else, rushed back toward the Grand Mosque. He assumed that Rajab was following him. When he reached the mosque he realized that Rajab was missing. He later identified Rajab’s body in the Shisha government hospital,” Sayeed said. Muhammad Rajab’s Haj cover number was given as JK1086-6. Doctors at the hospital said he died “as a result of a heart failure and hemorrhage due to multiple injuries.” Tunisia’s Religious Affairs Ministry reported four Tunisians — two women and two men — died in the collapse and six others were hospitalized. Pakistan’s Consul General Masood Akhtar said there were no Pakistani victims in the tragedy.  "Alhamdullilah none of the victims was Pakistani,” he said. “But any death is bad news and Pakistanis are in prayers for the victims and their near and dear ones."
  • 12th January 2006 - 363 dead - Jamarat Bridge (Saudi Arabia) ‘It Was Like a Huge Wave of Sea Gushing Down on the Pilgrims’ P.K. Abdul Ghafour, Arab News JEDDAH, 14 January 2006 — Thursday’s deadly stampede in Mina that marred this year’s otherwise successful Haj operation was unavoidable as a large sea of pilgrims, some carrying huge baggage, were moving forth to the Jamrat at noon to perform the stoning ritual despite warnings. “It was as if a huge wave from the sea came gushing down on the pilgrims,” said an Arab pilgrim who had just identified the wife of his friend among the dead. Many pilgrims were unaware of or ignored the religious edict issued by scholars that they can perform the ritual before noon. At the time of Dhuhr prayer on that day, nearly one million pilgrims were present in and around the Jamrat. It was really frightening. Security forces were doing their best to control the crowd. They stopped many pilgrims carrying baggage and made them leave their belongings behind before moving forward. But it was not possible for them to check all such baggage in such huge crowd. People were given instructions through huge signboards and microphones to stop moving forward to avoid stampede. But due to overcrowding, people were unable to control themselves and some disorderly pilgrims rushed ahead pushing others in their bid to finish off the ritual quickly and caused the stampede. The uncontrollable crowd did not augur well as it foretold the possibility of an impending crush and within minutes hundreds of pilgrims were trampled to death. The quick intervention of security forces helped bring down the death toll in one of the biggest tragedies in Haj history. Special security forces immediately cordoned off the area and were seen battling the crowd who wanted to enter the area where injured pilgrims were given treatment. Nasser, an Indian pilgrim from Kerala, who had ribs broken, told Arab News that he had lost his mother and wife in the stampede. He was angry at the Haj service agent who instructed them to perform the stoning ritual soon after Dhuhr prayer. Health officials and the National Guard were arrived at the scene of the crush within minutes to provide first aid to the victims. Many pilgrims were also seen helping the injured by providing water and assisting health officials. Most victims were left alone on the ground separated from their relatives and friends. It wasn’t only the elderly and women who were among the victims, but also the young and strong. Some pilgrims, who were brought on stretchers, were seen walking away after receiving first-aid treatment while those having deep injuries were quickly taken to hospitals. The stampede did not disrupt the stoning rituals as it continued smoothly. Most pilgrims were unaware of what had happened. The repeated tragedies near the Jamarat Bridge demand drastic measures to prevent their recurrence. Security officers must be given intense training in crowd management and pilgrims must be educated on how to avoid such deadly accidents.
  • 4 Feb, 2006 Stampede at Philippine stadium kills 79 Sat 6:14:04 GMT By John O'Callaghan MANILA (Reuters) - Seventy-nine people were killed in a stampede at a stadium in Manillaon Saturday as they scrambled to get tickets for a popular Philippine television game show, the government and witnesses said. Most of the dead were elderly women, crushed against a closed steel gate at the bottom of a slope or trampled underfoot. One child was killed, hospital officials said. Some witnesses said chaos erupted when someone shouted "bomb" but most survivors blamed the crowd surging for the tickets. "My mother came here hoping to win a prize," said one man in his 20s,holding her dead hand and sobbing. More than 200 injured people were taken to one government hospital. Some survivors went to private hospitals and their number was not immediately known. Police said as many as 25,000 people were lining up outside the Ultra stadium when guards started to handout ticket sat dawn for the first anniversary celebration of the game show  "Wowowee". "The slope was so steep that when one person stumbled, they fell like dominoes," said Manila's police chief, Vidal Querol.An army truck took the bodies to a funeral parlour after they had been lined up on the street, their faces covered with towels, sheets and newspapers. Hundreds of shoes and flip-flops were scattered across a narrow driveway. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo visited the injured in hospital and was due to survey the scene of thestampede.The Philippines is no stranger to large-scale disasters, most often involving typhoons, volcanoes, earthquakes or ferries, as well as deadly attacks by Muslim and communist rebels. Stampedes are relatively rare, although a crush at a crowded religious procession in the capital last month killed one man and injured 20. TICKET OUT OF POVERTY Some tickets for the "Wowowee" show were given away this week but many fans camped out for days to get tickets at the gate. Even after the stampede, thousands of people refused to leave the area because they wanted a chance at the usual jackpot of 1 million pesos(54,000 pounds) and a special prize for the anniversary of a house and plot of land. Ambulances had trouble reaching the scene because of the large crowd. The ABS-CBN network cancelled the event and appealed to those inside and outside the stadium to go home. "It's insensitive to continue the show, "Charo Santos-Concio, head of entertainment at the network, said on television. "We're all devastated." ABS-CBN said it would pay for the funeral and hospital expenses of victims and survivors. "Wowowee", on six days a week at midday, is one of the most-watched shows in the Philippines and by communities of Filipinos living abroad. "The guards could not control the crowd. People were climbing on the roof of a pathway, scaling the fences just to get inside and rushing to a narrow gate," Susan Doblin, who travelled from the central island of Leyte, told Reuters. "We're very poor. I waited for days outside to try our luck. This is a rare chance for us to win a million pesos." (With reporting by Manny Mogato, Pedro Uchi and Dolly Aglay) Philippines begins inquiry of games how stampede Sun 5 Feb, 2006 2:48:32 GMT By John O'Callaghan MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippine government summoned television executives and security officials to an inquiry on Sunday to determine why74 people died in a stampede for a popular game show giving away cash and prizes. Saturday's tragedy at a stadium in Manila illustrated the desperation of poor Filipinos hoping to win a small fortune or even a minor prize at the first anniversary celebration of the show "Wowowee", commentators and politicians said. Most of the victims were elderly women who were crushed against a steel gate at the bottom of a slope or trampled underfoot as a crowd as large as 50,000 surged forward to try to get a coveted seat inside the stadium. Nearly 400 people were injured. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordered a five-member panel to submit a report within 72 hours. The fact-finding body was due to interview executives from the ABS-CBN network, the show's host and the chief of security for the event. "Was there, in the first place, a failure on the part of the show's producers and the anniversary event organisers to prepare for just such an emergency?" the Philippine Daily Inquirer said in an editorial." Was there a failure (a failing shared by many Filipinos, as disaster prevention experts tell us again and again) to imagine that bad things could actually happen? "Witnesses said chaos broke out whena barricade collapsed as people were being let into the stadium, causing guards to panic and slam shut the gate as the crowd pressed forward. Manila's police chief, Vidal Querol, said that once people began stumbling on the slope, "they fell like dominoes ".Before being taken to morgues, the bodies had been lined up on the street, their faces covered with towels and newspapers as grieving relatives and friends crouched beside them. Shoes, handbags and half-eaten snacks were scattered on the pavement. Some tickets had been given out earlier in the week for the anniversary show of "Wowowee", which selects contestants at random from the audience. But thousands of fans, many of them poor and flocking from the provinces, had camped out for days for a chance at the show's usual jackpot of 1million pesos ($19,230) and special prizes of a car and a house with land. "GOOD LESSON" The head of security at ABS-CBN, Rene Luspo, said his team anticipated the crowd would be unruly and had taken "adequate" precautions but that the crush was "more than we expected". "We thought we had done all that was humanly possible," he said. Arroyo's political opponents used the tragedy to take a swipe at her economic record, saying Filipinos would not have risked their lives for prizes on a game show if they had better opportunities. But even Vice President Noli de Castro, a former newscaster at ABS-CBN, acknowledged that the disaster was a "good lesson" for the network's management and the government." Wowowee", on six days a week at midday, is one of the most-watched shows in the Philippines and by communities of Filipinos living abroad." We're very poor. I waited for days outside to try our luck," Susan Doblin, who travelled from the central island of Leyte, told Reuters at the stadium on Saturday. "This is a rare chance for us to win a million pesos." 
  • 21st July 2006 - Town chaos as cash thrown in air People in Aberystwyth had an unexpected windfall when a man showered what is thought to be thousands of pounds into the air at a pedestrian crossing. The man was heard to shout: "Who wants free money?" seconds before hurling the cash into the air in Alexandra Road. The incident caused chaos as drivers and pedestrians, some on their hands and knees, picked up the money. Dyfed-Powys Police said a 40-year-old man was later arrested for driving offences in nearby Aberaeron. John Morris saw what happened from outside his shop in nearby Terrace Road on Monday at about 1100 BST. He also caught the act on his CCTV system which scans the area near the town's railway station. "I just couldn't believe my eyes," said Mr Morris. "All the money was in £20 notes and I've heard rumours that the man threw about £20,000 away. "People were shocked and just couldn't believe it. "It was like something out of the the movies. It caused bedlam - people were on their hands and knees eagerly picking the money up. "I heard that one person picked up about £800, and another banked about £150 this morning so it wasn't fake money." Dyfed-Powys Police confirmed a man from Aberystwyth had thrown a sum of money in the air on Alexandra Road before driving away. The police added that some of the cash had been retrieved, and added that a man was later arrested in Aberaeron for driving offences.
  • 13 September 2006 51 Die in Yemen Stampede Khaled Al-Mahdi, Arab News The dead and injured are put on a pickup truck outside the stadium in Ibb. (AFP) SANAA,  — At least 51 people were crushed to death and 238 were injured yesterday at a rally for Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the southern province of Ibb. Tens of thousands attended the rally to hear an address by Saleh, who is seeking a fresh seven-year term in the country’s presidential elections scheduled to take place Sept. 20. The stampede occurred when thousands of rally-goers attempted to force their way into an already overcrowded stadium where Saleh was delivering a speech. The newcomers were villagers who were late for the rally in Ibb, some 170 km south of Sanaa. “The rally was over and people who came late from remote villages wanted to enter while tens of thousands were leaving the stadium,” said Mohammed Hussein, a teacher who attended the rally. Witnesses said a platform on which top government officials were seated collapsed as people tried to find their way out of the stadium, aggravating the situation. They said the platform collapsed shortly after the president left the stadium. Streets around the stadium and across the mountainous city were blocked by thousands of cars that carried Saleh’s supporters to the rally, police officers said. The stampede occurred one day after four people, including a 10-year-old boy, were crushed to death in a similar rally for Saleh in the southern province of Taiz, some 256 km from Sanaa. The Ibb constituency, which has some 900,000 voters, is the second most important in Yemen after the capital Sanaa, and is an opposition stronghold. Tue, 12 September, 2006, 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK Deadly stampede at Yemeni rally More than 42 people have been killed and dozens more injured in a stampede at an election campaign rally for the Yemeni president, officials say. Ali Abdullah Saleh was speaking at a stadium in the southern province of Ibb, 170km (106 miles) south of Sanaa. The stampede happened at the end of the rally as people were leaving the arena. Some 300,000 supporters were crowded into the stadium and surrounding roads. Many of the casualties were teenagers brought by bus from local schools. Overcrowding and a lack of clearly marked exit signs contributed to the stampede, said officials quoted by Associated Press. Some people were leaving the stadium while others were trying to get in, the officials said. Both President Saleh and opposition groups offered condolences to the families of the victims. Yemen is due to hold presidential and local council elections on 20 September. Mr Saleh is on a campaign tour of the country as he seeks a third seven-year term. The president has led Yemen since the unification of North and South Yemen in 1990. Before that, he was president of North Yemen for 12 years. Government officials, quoted by Reuters news agency, said that on Monday at least four people were killed and 10 injured in another stampede at a similar election rally in Taiz province, 250 km (155 miles) south-west of the capital Sanaa. On 25 August, three people were killed in clashes between supporters of the governing General People's Congress and the Islamist opposition group, Islah in the Jawf province, 70km (45 miles) north of the capital, Sanaa. Eight others were reported to have been injured in the clashes.
  • 15 September 2006 Six Killed in Yemeni Stampede Khaled Al-Mahdi, Arab News SANAA,  — In a second stampede yesterday, six people were crushed to death and more than 20 others were injured in southern Yemen during a pre-election rally in support of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The stampede happened in the city of Zunjubar, which is the provincial capital of the Abyan province and is located around 450 km south of the capital Sanaa. According to sources, two of the dead were run over by President Saleh’s motorcade vehicles near the stadium where the rally was being held. However, government officials denied the reports and said the two people were killed in a traffic accident that took place outside Zunjubar. This is the second deadly stampede to take place within days in Yemen. On Tuesday, at least 51 people died at another election rally supporting Saleh that was held at a stadium in the Ibb province. Saleh is running for re-election for a new seven-year term in elections that are scheduled to be held on Sept. 20. The 64-year-old Yemeni leader has been at the helm since 1978, ruling North Yemen for 12 years, and then taking over the presidency of the unified country after the merger of North and South Yemen in 1990. Meanwhile, a top leader of the 1994 failed secessionist rebellion in Yemen returned home from Jeddah on Wednesday after 12 years of self-imposed exile following a ten-week civil war. Abdul Rahman Al-Jifri flew to the southern port city of Aden along with 11 exiled dissidents. Shortly after arrival, Al-Jifri told reporters that he would actively participate in the political process of Yemen. “The situation in Yemen now requires a united action to develop the democratization process with the presidential election being the most important part of it,” he said. Government officials told Arab News that Al-Jifri, who fled the country in 1994 after a failed bid by South Yemen to secede from the north, would resume his political activity and that he would back President Saleh in his bid for re-election. Al-Jifri served as vice president of the Democratic Republic of Yemen, which was declared in May 1994 by breakaway politicians in the southern part of Yemen only four years after the reunification of the north and south. In another development, complex talks between kidnappers and Yemeni authorities to secure the release of four French tourists taken hostage in lawless Shabwa province of southeast Yemen remained deadlocked yesterday. “The kidnappers and their tribe have informed the new mediators that they are still waiting for a positive response from local authorities” for an exchange, a tribal source close to the kidnappers said.
  • 20th Nov 2006 Six children killed in stampede. Six children were killed and 11 injured in a stampede on a school stairwell in eastern China. The stampede happened on Saturday night when hundreds of first-grade pupils at Tutang Middle School in Jiangxi province's Duchang County swarmed out of their evening classes, the China Daily newspaper said. Hundreds fell over each other in the stairwell between the first and second floors of the three-storey building, it said. Five girls and one boy, aged between 12 and 13, died on their way to hospital, it said. Another 11 pupils were seriously injured. The report said one pupil recalled seeing a classmate bending down to tie their shoelaces on the staircase just before the incident occurred. The report said teachers climbed drainpipes on the outside of the building to get to the trapped children on the stairwell. Most of the teachers had been on the first floor, marking papers, when the stampede occurred and many of the children were unsupervised, it said. The school principal was detained by local authorities, the paper said.
  • Sun 17 Dec, 2006 Wedding fire kills over 20 in Pakistan  6:36:26 GMT MULTAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - A fire at a wedding party triggered a stampede and collapse of a wall in central Pakistan, killing more than 20 people, including the bride, police said on Sunday. The marriage party was underway in a tent near the city of Dera Ghazi Khan on Saturday night when it caught fire. An electrical short-circuit is thought to have caused the blaze. Several women and children died of burns. Many of those fleeing scaled a nearby wall, causing it to collapse. "Around 22 to 23 people were killed and 70 people were injured," police officer Ghulam Farid told Reuters. The groom was among the injured. He said the death toll could rise because several victims were in critical condition. Dera Ghazi Khan is about 500 km (310 miles) southwest of the capital, Islamabad. 27 killed in wedding fire stampede A fire that broke out in a wedding party tent in eastern Pakistan triggered a stampede and wall collapse that killed 27 women and children, including the bride. More than 30 other people were injured when the wedding party turned into tragedy late on Saturday night in Jhok Utra, a village about 75 miles west of the city of Multan. A high-powered electric light apparently started the fire in the large canvas tent where more than 100 women and children, many singing wedding songs, were present, area police officer Khadim Hussain Khadim said. He said the women and children died of burns from the flaming and collapsing tent, from injuries cause by a stampede when people tried to escape, and from debris from a nearby newly-built wall that toppled in the stampede. The tent had been set up on the lawn at the home of the bride, who was among the dead, Khadim said. The injured were taken to hospitals in the cities of Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan. Khadim said the men had been in a separate tent that was not damaged.
  • 20th December - Indonesian police launch probe into rock concert stampede.  The Indonesian police Wednesday summoned the event organizers of the Tuesday's rock concert in Central Java that ended in a crush in which 10 people were killed and dozens others injured. The organizers were being questioned but it remains unclear if they were named suspects of the incident, reported major national newspaper Tempo's website. The crush occurred when thousands of fans of popular band Ungu left the Mangala Krida Stadium in the town of Pekalongan after the show. Police said the stadium has only a few of exits. Most of the victims were teenagers aged between 15 and 17 years.
  • 31st December 2006. Twenty six injured in Madrid car bomb Twenty six people have been injured after a car bomb exploded in a parking lot at Madrid's international airport. An anonymous caller claimed Basque guerrillas ETA were responsible, Spanish authorities said. The explosion appeared to end a ceasefire declared by the group in March after four decades of armed struggle for independence of the Basque Country. The terminal was evacuated after a tip from a caller who warned Basque traffic authorities of a bomb in a purple Renault Traffic car. Shortly after, a separate caller claimed the bomb had been planted by ETA, a spokesman for the Basque regional government said. Emergency services said the bomb caused minor injuries to four people including two police officers and a taxi driver. ETA killed more than 800 people during its armed struggle. However, the group said in November that it would break off contacts with the authorities unless there was quick progress in separate talks among political parties in the Basque Country over the region's future. The talks were weighed down over issues including the continued ban on ETA's political party ally Batasuna and vandalism and low-level political violence by ETA supporters in the Basque Country. Spanish media reports said ETA had also demanded the government move the group's prisoners closer to their homes and ease police pressure on the group's members still in liberty. A spokeswoman said the Spanish government was collecting information from the security forces and would probably comment on the incident later.

2007 Crowd Disasters

  • Mon 1 Jan - Hundreds hurt in New Year revelry in Philippines By Dolly Aglay MANILA (Reuters) - Filipinos woke up to a thick smog shrouding Manila on Monday after a raucous New Year revelry of street parties, firecrackers and firing of guns that resulted in 624 injuries across the country. Health Secretary Francisco Duque said injuries during the New Year celebrations were 39 percent higher compared with 448 recorded during last year's celebrations. "I think people have more money now. Literally, they have more money to burn," he told a news conference. Duque also said Filipinos probably blasted more firecrackers because they were feeling more optimistic about the economy. Filipinos believe a noisy New Year will drive away bad luck and evil spirits. The number of injuries rose to 907 from December 21 up to the New Year celebrations compared with 610 in the same period last year, the health department said. The figure did not include the 25 people killed when a fire that started from a firecracker razed a department store in Ormoc City in central Philippines on Christmas day. Last year, seven people were killed during the Christmas and New year festivities. Police said firecrackers were the cause of 25 fires since December 21, including a church that was gutted in Manila's Las Pinas district early on Monday. "I cannot understand why our countrymen never learn," Michael Ty, spokesman of state-run Philippine General Hospital (PGH), told local radio DZBB. Ty said the worst cases received by his hospital included a 10-year-old child who needed to have four fingers in one hand amputated because of firecrackers and a pregnant woman who almost lost her child to a stray bullet. He said the woman was hit in the stomach, but doctors managed to deliver the baby safely. Elsewhere in Manila, the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Centre recorded six incidents of people hit by stray bullets, the youngest an 11-year old boy, radio reports said. Each year, police and soldiers are required to cover the muzzle of their guns with masking tape before the New Year and health officials campaign on radio and television against the use of firecrackers. "I think blasting firecrackers is now deep-rooted in the culture of Filipinos," Duque said.
  • Mon 1 Jan - New Year bombs shake Bangkok  By Darren Schuettler BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand grappled on Monday with the mystery of who ordered a series of blasts that killed three people in Bangkok, wounded 38, including nine foreigners, and ruined New Year celebrations. The military-installed government said intelligence pointed to politicians who had lost power, not Muslim militants waging a separatist insurgency in the far south, despite similarities of style. "We could not at this stage pinpoint which particular group was involved," said Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, installed after a bloodless September 19 coup toppled Thaksin Shinawatra, whose supporters he said might have been involved. "Briefs from various intelligence agencies, based on evidence available, show that they came from groups that have lost political powers," Surayud told a news conference as police and soldiers mounted a major security operation. "These were not just the previous government, but include all those which have lost power in the past," he added while refusing to say what evidence the government had. Australia said it feared more attacks. "We continue to receive reports that terrorists may be planning attacks against a range of targets, including places frequented by foreigners," it said. Involvement of Muslim militants, whose insurgency has cost more than 1,800 lives over the past three years but has remained confined to the far south, was a "very remote possibility", Surayud said. UNPRECEDENTED ATTACK Since Thaksin, twice a landslide election winner, was ousted, several schools have burnt down outside Bangkok and martial law has been kept in several areas because of what the army calls "undercurrents". But leading members of billionaire Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais) party have denied it is involved in any form of violent resistance to the coup. Thaksin, who last surfaced a few weeks ago in China, has made no comment since the bombs aborted New Year celebrations in Bangkok, a city of 9 million people always ready to party. Police and soldiers set up 6,000 checkpoints across the city after what deputy national police chief General Achiravit Supanpasat said was the worst attack in Bangkok in his 40-year career. Police with sniffer dogs patrolled stations on the urban mass transit system, where waste bins were removed or replaced by see-through versions. All eight small time-bombs were made of ammonium nitrate fertiliser and triggered by digital watches. Some were planted in areas likely to cause deaths -- outside a shopping mall, in an open-air market -- and some were not, like one in the parking lot of another mall and one at an intersection. But two later bombs which exploded around midnight would have caused untold mayhem had New Year street parties gone ahead. They were planted at either end of the broad stretch of road in Bangkok's upscale shopping district where the main party was to have been held. Nine foreigners were among the wounded -- four Hungarians, three Serbs and two Britons, police said.
  • 16th May 2007 Commuters riot over train delays Argentinian commuters enraged by delays in evening train services have set fire to one of South America's biggest stations. Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas as rioters pelted them with rocks. The fighting at Buenos Aires' Constitucion station spilled into a nearby street as demonstrators shattered windows, set fire to a ticket sales area, looted shops and ripped pay phones from walls. Hundreds of passengers fled the fighting inside the station, which has an estimated 300,000 users daily. Twelve police officers were injured by flying rocks, mostly with cuts and bruises to the head and chest, and nine people were also treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, said Alberto Crescenti, a spokesman for emergency medical workers. Police Commissioner Ricardo Falana reported 16 arrests, including two minors. He said about 100 police were needed to quell the rioters, who he said threw a "hail of rocks" at officers. During the disturbances, a motorcycle was set ablaze and angry youths used metal poles to try to break down tall wooden doors to a security office in the station. Fernando Jantus, a spokesman for the Metropolitano train concession, said service was interrupted at the evening rush hour because a train broke down on a key track just outside the station, blocking other trains from leaving the station. Passengers have long complained about poor commuter rail service on lines leading from Constitucion station in downtown Buenos Aires to poor southern suburbs of the Argentine capital. The riot was the second major outbreak of violence at the station since passengers angry over cancellation of train service one day last September set three train carriages ablaze and police made seven arrests.

2008 Crowd Disasters

  • 11th Feb 2008 : Crush at Indonesia rock concert kills 10, police say. JAKARTA (AFP) — Ten young people were trampled or crushed to death as hundreds of music fans tried to force their way out of a rock concert in the Indonesian city of Bandung, police and hospital officials said Sunday. Witnesses told the local Pikiran Rakyat daily that people inside the packed venue were trying to escape the crush just as hundreds of others were surging their way inside. "Ten people were killed, one of them has not yet been identified. Six other people were injured," Bandung police chief Bambang Suparsono told the Detikcom online news portal. The dead are mostly teenagers. He said an investigation was under way into the incident late Saturday. Detikcom, quoting another police officer, said the capacity of the building was for 700 people but that only around 400 attended the concert by a popular heavy metal group called Besides. The concert was being held to launch its latest album. However Pikiran Rakyat said there were more than 1,500 people inside, which it said was about 500 more than the building's capacity. Detikcom said at least 40 were being questioned, while a police officer at Bandung, the capital of West Java, said three organisers were being quizzed as suspects. "The bodies of 10 people have been brought here but all but three have been taken by their family," said Toto, a staff member at the local hospital morgue where the dead were initially brought. Suparsono said the crush occurred as people tried to leave the Asia Africa Arts Hall in downtown Bandung. One 19-year-old witness told Pikiran Rakyat: "Outside, there were hundreds of people pushing to enter. They were pushing at the gate. "Inside, there were also a lot of people who wanted to leave, because the hall was so packed that it was difficult to breathe." Another witness said the venue was so crowded that he did not have enough room to bend down to retrieve a shoe which had come loose. A third told the paper that while the band was playing, hundreds of people forced their way in, damaging the entrance lobby. "The cause of the deaths cannot yet be established," West Java Police Chief Susno Duaji was quoted by the Pikiran Rakyat as saying from the scene. Duaji said police inside the building had asked the organizers to halt the concert because many of those in the venue had already fainted. He said most of the victims showed signs of lack of oxygen. The art-deco former movie house, next to a building that hosted the first Asia Africa conference in 1955, remained closed to the public Sunday. Some dozen police officers were posted to close off the entrance, although passers-by could see in to the broken glass panels of the main entrance inside and the damaged iron grilles, the state Antara news agency said. This is not the first time people have been killed at a rock concert. In December 2006, 10 died and dozens were injured in a stampede at a packed football stadium in Kedungwuni in Indonesia's Central Java province. Detikcom said then the stadium, built to take 6,000 people, was filled to almost double its capacity for the concert by the group Ungu. In 2004, eight people were killed in two separate stampedes at concerts by the pop group Sheila.
  • 4th August 2008. Up to 150 dead in India temple stampede: police As many as 150 Hindu worshippers, many of them women, children and the elderly, were crushed to death today in a stampede at a hill temple in northern India, police said. Tens of thousands of pilgrims were thronging the Naina Devi temple in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh when rumours of a landslide caused by heavy rains sparked a colossal rush down a narrow, fenced-in stairway. "A lot of the dead are women and children and elderly people. People thought there would be a landslide and the stampede started, and that was when people were crushed to death," a local police spokesman said. "Some of the bodies were taken home straight away by relatives and some were taken to the doctor and could have perished then... but there are around 125 to 150 dead people," said the spokesman, who asked not to be named. The Press Trust of India news agency said 146 people had been confirmed dead and at least 50 others were injured. Most people died of suffocation, and about half the dead were women or children, officials said. The bodies of devotees were strewn along the steep 4-km path leading up to the temple, located about 150 km from the state capital, Shimla, witnesses said. Police said nearly 50,000 worshippers were expected daily during the nine-day Navratra festival, which began yesterday. But many more had turned up today, leading to a massive crush. Witnesses said the temple -- where pilgrims offer prayers to a goddess in the foothills of the Himalayas -- was massively overcrowded. "A lot of people were confined in a small area," said district deputy commissioner CP Verma. Many of the deceased were from neighbouring Punjab state, or from the capital, New Delhi. Punjab's chief minister, Parkash Singh Badal, announced the next of kin of the dead would receive 100,000 rupees ($A2,550) in compensation. Temple crushes are common during festivities in India, where crowd control management is often rudimentary at best. Despite the huge loss of life, officials said the pilgrimage was continuing only hours after the corpses were cleared.Six people died in a similar accident at a popular Hindu festival in July in the eastern state of Orissa, where about one million people had gathered in the town of Puri for an annual celebration. In March, nine people were killed and many more injured at a religious gathering in central India when a railing broke at the temple premises, leading to a stampede among 100,000 devotees.
  • 15th Sept 2008 At least 23 people were killed today when a stampede broke out as crowds of poor Indonesians fought over alms handed out as a Ramadan gift. The dead, mostly women, were crushed against railings or trampled as a crowd of several thousand surged forward to receive the money in the east Java town of Pasuruan. Eight others were in a critical condition. The people had each been trying to claim the sums of between 30,000 and 40,000 rupiah (£1.59 and £2.13) given for the Muslim month of fasting. Charitable handouts — or zakat — are obligatory for rich Muslims who must give away a portion of their wealth during the Islamic holy month. The gifts are a lifeline for poor people who eke out the money for several months. The crowd had gathered outside the house of a businessman — reportedly a car dealer — since early morning as word of the handout spread. Screaming women suffocated as they were pinned against the fence in the clamour. "They died because of lack of oxygen or were trampled to death after being pushed from behind in the crush," said Budi, a worker at the town's morgue who goes by a single name. A police chief in Pasuruan, Harry Sitompul, and the mayor, Aminurohman, said the rich family dispensing the tithe failed to coordinate the event with the authorities. "It's an annual activity from that family," Aminurohman told local radio. "But there were a lot more people lining up today than in previous years." There is a history of deaths at such handouts in Indonesia, which has a population of 235 million people and is the world's largest Muslim country.
  • 30th Sept 2008 - Scores die in India temple crush At least 147 people have been killed in a stampede at a Hindu temple in the north-western Indian state of Rajasthan, the state government says. Scores more were injured, many seriously, in the crush at the Chamunda Devi temple in Jodhpur. A wall near the temple is said to have collapsed, causing panic among thousands of devotees marking the start of the Hindu Navaratra festival. There have been a number of recent deadly stampedes at Indian temples. Suddenly, people bunched up into one another and there was shoving and pushing... We fell on the ground. The BBC's Damian Grammaticas in Delhi says this is the fourth time this year that lives had been lost - probably needlessly - during a stampede at a religious festival in India. He says crowd control at such events is usually rudimentary and the police simply not trained in effective crowd management. Last month 140 pilgrims were killed in a stampede at a mountain temple in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh. 'Still buried' The Chamunda Devi temple is inside the huge 15th Century Mehrangarh Fort, high above Jodhpur's "blue city". It is popular with tourists and local people - particularly at this time, the start of the nine-day festival of Navaratra. Before dawn, thousands of people had made their way to the hill-top temple overlooking the city.  It is not entirely clear why the stampede happened, but something triggered panic among men queuing in the narrow lane leading to the temple. Hundreds rushed down the hill crushing those waiting at the bottom. "I was at the temple in a queue of people when, suddenly, people bunched up into one another and there was shoving and pushing," one survivor, Daulat Singh, told the BBC Hindi service. "We fell on the ground, and on top of us, some 30 or 40 men fell. It was difficult to get people out." Another man, Naresh Kumar Meena, said: "In front of the temple, there was some bamboo railing which collapsed. As soon as that happened, everyone near to it fell. There were also people pushing from behind." Police and volunteers spent hours ferrying the injured for treatment. One official in Jodhpur said the collapse of a wall on the narrow path leading to the temple caused people to flee. There were also false rumours of a bomb, reports said. Rajasthan's Home Secretary SN Thanvi said: "The stampede began when people lost their footing and set off a chain reaction." Television footage showed dozens of injured littering the streets. With no first aid available at the scene, people tried desperately to resuscitate the unconscious as others scooped up bodies and took them to hospital. "When I arrived, I saw chaos, people running around the place. I was looking for my friend and after a while found him," local student Manish said. "He was unconscious but without serious injuries." The authorities have ordered an investigation
  • 30th November 2008. Wal-Mart Death Clearly Avoidable When the Store manager of the Wal-Mart saw that thousands of shoppers had collected outside the store and were worked up into a frenzied mob, why not open the doors early? Was it a store policy not to open the doors early or was it a bad management decision?  Who bears more responsibility, the shoppers who trampled him or the company that employed him? CNN reports that the local Union for retailers believes that Wal-Mart is responsible. Jdimytai Damour, 34, was crushed as he and other employees attempted to unlock the doors of a Long Island, New York, store at 5 a.m. Friday, police said. “This incident was avoidable,” said Bruce Both, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500, the state of New York’s largest grocery worker’s union. “Where were the safety barriers? Where was security? How did store management not see dangerous numbers of customers barreling down on the store in such an unsafe manner? “This is not just tragic; it rises to a level of blatant irresponsibility by Wal-Mart,” he said. Wal-Mart has taken the position that this was simply a tragic accident. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the deceased,” Wal-Mart Senior Vice President Hank Mullany said in the statement. “We are continuing to work closely with local law enforcement, and we are reaching out to those involved.” The Union. however believes that Wal-mart is directly to blame. “If the safety of their customers and workers was a top priority, then this never would have happened,” said Patrick Purcell, a projects director for the local UFCW. “Wal-Mart must step up to the plate and ensure that all those injured, as well as the family of the deceased, be financially compensated for their injuries and their losses. Their words are weak.” The UFCW has long been a harsh critic of Wal-Mart’s, arguing that the world’s largest retailer offers low wages and poor health care for its workers and pushes competitors and suppliers to do the same or go out of business. The group has had only marginal success in organizing Wal-Mart workers in the United States and Canada, citing aggressive anti-union efforts by Wal-Mart. The police are reviewing the store videotape to try to identify the shoppers who trampled the employee, but who bears the greater responsibility? Wal-Mart or the shoppers? Who should be prosecuted?

2009 Disasters

  • 1st January 2009. Dozens die in nightclub fire in Bangkok. Associated Press Writer Denis D. Gray, Associated Press Writer. Bangkok nightclub fire kills over 50 New Year revellers AFP AP – A Bangkok, Thailand, fire and rescue official searches the basement of a nightclub following a fire that … BANGKOK, Thailand – A fire raced through a two-story nightclub packed with hundreds of well-heeled New Year's revelers early Thursday, killing at least 61 people as they stampeded to escape the raging flames. More than 200 were injured, including 35 foreigners.The cause of the fire in a Bangkok entertainment district was under investigation but several witnesses said a fireworks display during the New Year's countdown ignited the blaze. A number of foreigners were among the casualties at the Santika Club, which attracted an affluent crowd of young Thais as well as expatriates and tourists. Hospital rosters showed 13 foreigners were treated for injuries and one man, a Singaporean national, had died. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia said three of its nationals were also among the hospitalized. "Everybody was pushing against each other trying to get out to the front door as quickly as possible. I saw people, particularly young girls, being pushed away and crushed underneath as others were stomping on them trying to get out," said Sompong Tritaweelap, who lives in an apartment behind the nightclub. Victims died from burns, smoke inhalation and injuries during the stampede from the club, which had only one door for the public, police Maj. Gen. Chokchai Deeprasertwit said. Firefighters said a door at the rear was known only to the staff, while an Associated Press reporter saw a third door at one side of the building. Video footage of the disaster showed bloodied, bruised and burned victims being dragged out of the burning, two-story club or managing to run through the door or shattered windows. The video — provided to AP Television News by rescue workers — showed flames racing through the entire building even as the rescue operation was going on. Sompong said the fire spread through the entire building within 10 minutes."People were screaming for help from every window. It was a terrible sight. Their hair and clothes were on fire but there was nothing they could do as the fire engulfed them," he said. The Phranakorn Center, an official agency dealing with accidents in Bangkok, said at least 61 people died and 35 foreigners were among the injured. The Narenthorn Emergency Center, which was coordinating relief efforts, said more than 200 had been hurt. The Phranakorn Center and reporters who interviewed the injured said they included nationals of Australia, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the United States. The dead Singaporean was identified as Teo Sze Siong. One of the Japanese, Wada Keiichi, 25, was in a coma and suffering from burns over 60 percent of his body, doctors said. Pol. Lt. Col. Sujettana Sotthibandhu, a forensics expert, said it might take about a week to identify almost 30 bodies that were badly disfigured. Chokchai said the fire may have been caused by sparks flying from a New Year's countdown display on the nightclub stage. The Nation newspaper quoted one partygoer, Somchai Frendi, as saying the blaze was caused when the countdown fireworks ignited the second floor ceiling, which was made largely of soundproofing material. Sompong quoted a maid at the club as giving a similar account. "Some of the sparks fell onto the carpeted floor as well. Within seconds, smoke was everywhere," he quoted her as saying. Police Lt. Gen. Jongrak Jutanont said the initial investigation found the club's safety system was "substandard" but did not elaborate. The club was packed with about 1,000 celebrants, police officers at the scene said. Rescue workers said most of the bodies were found in a pit area surrounding the stage. The corpses, placed in white body bags, were laid out in rows in the parking lot in front of the club, which was strewn with shoes of the victims, water bottles, parking stickers and other debris. Emergency workers said the rescue operation was delayed in part because of heavy traffic in the Ekamai entertainment district. Firefighter Watcharapong Sri-saard said in addition to a lack of exits, a number of staircases inside the club as well as bars across the second-floor windows made escape difficult. An AP reporter who peered inside the still-burning building said everything in sight had been burned. One Web site about Bangkok's entertainment scene described the club as attracting "an affluent Thai student crowd, with Euro models and Westerners also popping in" with a "whisky-sipping crowd all focused on a large stage." Another site said the high ceiling and a cross in the main room made one feel "like walking into a church." Just after dawn, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva visited the still-smoldering club but did not talk to reporters. But later, during a visit with the injured at one of the hospitals, he said, "The question is why they let someone take fireworks inside the pub and light them up." Safety regulations are often loosely enforced. Thailand passed a law in 1994 requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets, but bareheaded riders with policemen blithely looking on are a common sight on Bangkok's streets today. Associated Press writer Christopher Blake and AP photographer Sakchai Lalitkanjanakul in Bangkok contributed to this report
  • March 30th - Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Stampede at a World Cup qualifying match between Ivory Coast and Malawi leaves 22 dead and 132 wounded. Watch the report. The tragedy happened less than an hour before the match at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny arena in the Ivorian capital Abidjan, was due to kick off. According to interior minister Desire Tagro, fans pushed against each other prior to kick-off leading to panic. Lives were lost in the ensuing stampede. Despite the tragedy, the fixture went ahead. Ivory Coast won 5-0. Some reports suggest a staduim wall collapsed under the weight of fans and they tried to get to the safety of the pitch. Police fired tear gas into one section of the crowd. Ivory Coast fined by FIFA following stadium crush that killed 22 supporters 22 Jul 2009 Ivory Coast fined by FIFA following stadium crush that killed 22 supportersFIFA has fined the Ivorian Football Association and imposed a series of safety measures after concluding a lengthy investigation into the deaths of 22 people in a crush at the Houphouet-Boigny stadium in Abidjan in March. More than 130 people were injured as Ivory Coast beat Malawi 5-0, with a reported 36,000 trying to cram into a stadium which has a capacity of 34,600. Chelsea pair Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou scored in the victory while former Tottenham midfielder Didier Zokora and Arsenal duo Emmanuel Eboue and Kolo Toure also played, only finding out about the incident afterwards. FIFA announced a fine of £28,500 for the Ivorian Football Association, and warned of further action if measures are not taken ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso, to be played at the same stadium on September 5. The capacity for that match will be set at 20,000, with a control cordon to be set up at least one kilometre from the stadium and a separate spectator control cordon around 200 metres away to prevent non-ticket holders getting through.'The total capacity of the stadium (34,600) will only be allowed in subsequent matches if the above-mentioned measures are applied for each match,' FIFA said in a statement. FIFA also announced a donation of £57,000 to a fund set up for the families of the victims.
  • May 23rd Deadly stampede at Rabat festival The crowd apparently surged forward, and a wire fence collapsed. At least 11 people have been killed in the Moroccan capital Rabat, following a stampede at a world music concert. Some 40 were injured when a wire fence collapsed at the Mawazine festival. The incident happened on Saturday night, when some 70,000 spectators were packed into the Hay Nahda stadium to see Moroccan singer Abdelaziz Stati. The nine-day-long event has featured such international stars as Kylie Minogue, Algerian rai singer Khaled, Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder. Analysts say the nine-day-long Mawazine festival is one of several events aimed at promoting Morocco's image as a modern, tolerant nation. But some of the country's Islamist politicians have denounced the concerts as encouraging immoral behaviour. Hurry to leave. The festival was drawing to a close when the stampede occurred. Shortly after midnight on Sunday morning, thousands of spectators hurried to leave and a wire fence toppled over. According to police, five women, four men and two children died in the ensuing crush. Several people were taken to hospital after the incident. Governor of Rabat Hassan Lamrani blamed the stampede on an attempt by some concert goers to rush out of the stadium by jumping security fences. "At the end of the concert and despite the existence of seven gates, a group of citizens decided to go over the metal barriers to have a quick exit," Mr Lamrani said. But one of the dozens of concert-goers injured in the crush told Reuters news agency police were partly responsible for the incident. "The doors were closed by the police and we were forced to leave the stadium from some places not destined for this purpose. The police did not intervene." Rescuers helped to pull out survivors and transport the injured to hospital, where seven people remain under observation, according to AFP news agency. Deadly crowd stampedes in Africa are usually associated with sports events, according to BBC North Africa correspondent Rana Jawad. But this is the second known incident of its kind in the region; in 2007 a stampede at a concert in Tunisia killed seven people.
  • Sun Aug 16 2009 Kuwait wedding tent fire kills dozens. A fire in a tent at a Kuwaiti wedding party has killed at least 41 women and children.Kuwait's al-Rai television reports many others were caught in a stampede as guests tried to escape the flames.The head of the local fire brigade told the channel 76 people are critically injured. Jassim al-Mansouri said: "The number of fatalities might increase due to the large number of injuries as result of a stampede that followed the outbreak of the fire at the tent that was packed with people at the wedding." Weddings in Kuwait are mostly segregated, with women seated separately from men. Tents are often erected especially for the occasion.
  • Nov 14th 2009 - Sixty people hurt in crush to see JLS at Christmas lights event in Birmingham: (By Ian Johnston Published: 6:59PM GMT 14 Nov 2009). At least 60 people suffered crush injuries when the crowd at a Christmas lights switch-on in Birmingham surged forward after X Factor runners-up JLS took to the stage. The band had just finished performing at the event in the city centre on Saturday, when a metal barrier penning the crowd in collapsed. Four people had to be taken to hospital with the others treated at the scene.The rest of the concert and lights switch-on were cancelled as paramedics set up a special unit to treat the wounded. According to reports, about 27,000 people turned up for a show at Millennium Point on Jennens Lane, which had been expected to attract just 5,000 fans. The Sugababes were also due to perform, but the concert was hastily cancelled after the surge at around 1.30pm. Laura Hayes, 24, said there were people crying and screaming in chaotic scenes. "I saw one girl who had sprained her ankle in the crush, she was hobbling and crying," she said. "When they announced they were stopping the gig, loads of people started throwing bottles and umbrellas at the stage. "I was really scared and there were lots of people pushing and shoving, I think they had let too many people get close to the stage." A spokesman for Birmingham City Council said that the concert had descended into mayhem as fans tried to get too close to the stage. "We have had fans being lifted out of the crowd fainting and people being crushed, it's not going well," she said. One woman in her 30s suffered serious crush injuries to her pelvis, shoulder and leg. Another woman broke her ankle in the surge. A teenage boy fractured his wrist, while a girl in her teens suffered crush injuries to her back and legs. A ambulance service spokeswoman said: “The remaining 56 patients suffered minor crush injuries and a range of minor medical complaints. They did not require further hospital treatment and were all discharged by ambulance crews at the scene.” Joan Durose, head of events at Birmingham City council said: “At 1.30pm, we reached capacity and closed the gates with just under 20,000 people in the square. “At the end of JLS’s performance, a safety fence was breached allowing too many people on the square. “We are very sorry that the event has had to be cancelled, we know that people will be very disappointed, but the health and safety of the thousands of young people at the event was our prime concern.” Councillor Martin Mullaney, in charge of leisure, sport and culture at the council, said the concert had been cancelled in the interests of public safety. "I would sooner read headlines about red faces than read headlines about a tragedy," he said. "There are a combination of factors including overnight high winds damaging the fences, thousands of people broke through the fences towards the end of JLS's performance and once that happened we had to act quickly. There was an emergency plan for the event and that came into play. "I'm sorry a lot of people went home disappointed and there will be a full investigation into what went wrong and what lessons can be learned for the future but I must stress that this was the correct decision in the circumstances." 
  • 2009 5th December - 102 people die in Russian nightclub fire; 135 hurtPyrotechnics are blamed for the disaster in the Ural Mountain city of Perm. Many victims succumbed to fumes or got trampled to death, and 135 people were injured. 102 people and injured 135, emergency ministry officials said. Many of the victims succumbed to fumes or were trampled as partygoers stampeded toward the doors and jammed the exits of the Lame Horse nightclub, which was especially crowded because the establishment was celebrating its eighth anniversary, said Darya Kochneva, a spokeswoman for the regional office of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations. Security officials ruled out terrorism, blaming fountain-type indoor fireworks for igniting a low plastic ceiling decorated with twigs and wicker to make the interior resemble a countryside club. Survivor Andrei Vaskin, who works as a dancer, said he saw the fire begin shortly after 1 a.m. as more than 200 people inside were warming up for a late-night show. "I noticed rays of sparks from the fireworks reaching the ceiling and heard the first crackling sounds of fire from above, where the ceiling was." The lights suddenly went out and the club quickly filled with smoke, said Vaskin, 24, who managed to escape through a back kitchen. Vaskin said he joined medics from 19 ambulances in pulling people from the building. But as the fumes and panic built, rescue efforts became more difficult. People were falling on top of one another and being trampled, he said, and the club's windows were too high to allow escape. Vaskin said he realized he had to crouch low to avoid smoke as he tried to reach the injured. "I took one girl, maybe 19, to the ambulance in my arms and was standing by to recover my breath as the medics inside the ambulance were applying artificial respiration," Vaskin said. "They gave her a series of electric shocks, and then they just shook their heads and looked at me, saying she was dead. "She must have died in my hands while I was carrying her to the ambulance," he said. Of about a dozen people he helped carry out, at least four died, he said. Vera Yershova, 21, said she barely made it out of the club alive. "Somebody hit me in the back with an elbow and I fell on the floor near the exit," she recalled. "I rolled on the floor trying to get away from legs trampling me down. "I fell almost at once and that must have saved me, because there was some air closer to the ground," Yershova said. "It was pitch dark, everybody was screaming and pushing, and smoke was everywhere -- just smoke, no fire that I could see." Then someone grabbed her hair and dragged her outside, where she sat gasping for air. State television showed charred bodies lying in rows outside the club amid a light snow flurry. Perm, a city of about 1 million people, is about 700 miles northeast of Moscow in the Ural Mountains. Russia has been on edge since last week's bombing of the prestigious Nevsky Express passenger train midway between Moscow and St. Petersburg, which killed 27 people. It was the first fatal terrorist attack outside Russia's restive Caucasus republics since 2004. Chechen rebels claimed responsibility for the bombing. A nightclub fire in the U.S. state of Rhode Island in 2003 killed 100 people after pyrotechnics used as a stage prop by the 1980s band Great White set ablaze soundproofing foam on the walls and ceiling. Loiko is a Times staff writer.

2010 Disasters

  • Jan 14th 2010 - HARIDWAR, 6 dead, 12 injured. India: Hundreds of thousands of bathed in the icy waters of the Ganges river yesterday as a months-long Hindu festival expected to attract more than 10 million people kicked off in one of India's holiest cities. The festival was marred by tragedy elsewhere in the country when pilgrims jostling to get to a river temple stampeded, crushing six elderly women and a child and injuring 12 pilgrims, police said. The stampede occurred as thousands of pilgrims tried to board boats to the island temple nearly 100km south of Calcutta, the capital of West Bengal state, said Surajit Kar Purakayastha, an inspector-general of police. Along the river banks, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children entered the fast-moving waters in a ritual that is part of the Kumbh Mela, touted as the largest religious gathering in the world. Braving rain and cold weather, devotees from all over India in cars, buses, trains and tractor-driven carriages have been pouring into Haridwar, a temple-filled town at the foothills of the Himalayas. One pilgrim, Shyam Lal, 55, said, "It is Hindus' belief that bathing in the Ganges river on the occasion purifies one's soul. It also helps in controlling one's desires in a materialistic world," he said. Hundreds of tents have been spread out over a vast 130km2 area where more than 15 000 makeshift toilets have been erected and 10 000 people employed to keep the tent city clean, a festival organiser said. - Sapa-AP. Published on the web by Mercury on January 14, 2010.
  • 16th February 2010 - 20 injured after fence collapse during Alexisonfire concert in Canada. At least 20 people were hurt and nine hospitalized after the crowd rushed the stage at the Olympic LiveCity venue in Yaletown on February 16th 2010. Witness Travis Stewart was six rows back from the stage as Alexisonfire started their first song at 9:30 p.m. "I'd watched this band from Quebec before Alexis, then they started playing and about 20 seconds into the first song the music stopped," Stewart said. "The singer started asking people to step back and we kept moving back and back." In front of the stage, several barricades had collapsed under the weight of the surging crowd and chaos unfolded. "One of the band said the barricade had broken and it was sharp and people were hurt," Stewart said. "We heard a volunteer say a girl had hurt her foot and another girl had her leg cut pretty badly." Several ambulances were called, the concert was cancelled and all the estimated 7,600 in attendance were asked to leave. The future of the next few days of concerts is in doubt. LiveNation spokesman Paul Haagenson said he was surprised at the general level of calmness as the thousands of people exited the outdoor venue. Haagenson said at least 20 people were injured and nine were hospitalized with soft tissue injuries and one possible broken leg. City of Vancouver manager Penny Ballem said the city feels confident the LiveCity entertainment site in Yaletown at David Lam Park is safe. "We will be assessing the site and making plans to put back the barrier," Ballem said. She said the incident was unprecedented because LiveNation has used the same style of barrier for the past 20 years. Source: Montreal Gazzette
  • 27th February 2010. 26 dead in stampede at Timbuktu's oldest mosque By SERGE DANIEL/AFP. BAMAKO: A stampede at a famed mosque in Mali's northwestern desert city of Timbuktu crushed at least 26 people to death and left many more injured, officials and witnesses said on Friday. A hospital source said 16 bodies had arrived at a Timbuktu hospital, and 55 had been injured in the crush outside the Djinguereber mosque, one of Mali's most recognizable buildings. A police official said at least ten other bodies had not been transported to the morgue at the hospital, but had already been buried in line with Muslim tradition. Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure arrived in Timbuktu Friday afternoon to visit the injured and show his condolences to the families of the deceased, said a source close to the presidency. Thousands of pilgrims come to Timbuktu for the prophet's birthday and an official said the accident appeared to have happened because of a bottleneck caused by renovation work on the 14th-century mosque, made largely from mud. "People were circling the mosque, a ritual at each Mouloud (the observance of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad) and there was a huge crowd built up," one of the witnesses, Mohamed Bandjougou, said of the accident late Thursday. "I lost my sister. She was 16 and had gone to pray," said another resident, Ali Kounta. Known as "the Great Mosque,” Djinguereber is the oldest monument and largest mosque in Timbuktu. An official at Timbuktu town hall said that the mosque was undergoing renovations financed by the Aga Khan, head of the world's 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims. "Because of these renovations, the passage on the north side of the mosque is closed off," the official said, asking not to be named. "On that side, to get through, the faithful found an improvised alleyway. "But the alley couldn't take the number of people using it. So there was a stampede. Somebody shouted 'someone has died' and panic took over," the official said. Two other officials said rescue services had "very quickly" helped the "many injured.” "We're in mourning. What happened is a real drama. We accept the will of God. He gives us life, he takes it away," said the mosque's imam, who gave his name as Asseyuti. Timbuktu was a renowned intellectual and religious center during the 15th and 16th centuries, helping to spread Islam throughout Africa. The town and its monuments are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Today the area is desert, and while Timbuktu's name remains synonymous in Europe with the idea of an exotic faraway land, the town's historic buildings require constant renovation. During the Mouloud celebration of the prophet's birthday in Makkah in 570, the faithful gather at night to pray. Religious gatherings of thousands of people can lead to deadly stampedes. In 2006, at least 364 people were killed in a stampede during the annual Haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. A stampede at a Hindu temple in India's Rajasthan in 2008 killed 224 people, while two girls were killed and 40 injured at a stampede at a church-organized stadium event in Angola in 2009.
  • 4th March 2010 - 63 die, dozens injured in Indian temple stampede. By RAJESH KUMAR SINGH | AP. Published: Mar 4, 2010 11:51 PM Updated: Mar 4, 2010 11:56 PM. KUNDA, India: A stampede among thousands of poor villagers scrambling for free food and clothes at a commemorative event killed 63 people Thursday at a Hindu temple in northern India and injured dozens of others. Nearly all the victims were women and children. The stampede was so intense it knocked down a gate at the compound surrounding the temple in the small town of Kunda, on the northern plains of Uttar Pradesh state. “How could this happen in such a holy place?” cried Phool Chand Saroj, a 48-year-old farmer whose wife, daughter and grandmother were killed in the stampede. “If they had been more careful about letting in the crowds this would not have happened.” While most men in the farming region worked in their fields, women from surrounding villages gathered with their children Thursday in Kunda for a midday handout of donations, an anniversary event marking the death of the wife of local religious leader Kripalu Maharaj. Giving food and other alms to the poor on death anniversaries is a common Hindu tradition. The crush of people turned into a stampede that killed 63 and injured 44, government official Ashok Kumar said. Hours after the tragedy, piles of unclaimed shoes sat inside the compound where victims had placed them before entering the temple. The compound in Kunda, some 110 miles (180 kilometers) southeast of the state capital of Lucknow, appeared to have been undergoing renovations. Bamboo and iron rods used in construction were strewn about the grounds, possibly causing some people to trip. By late afternoon police had cleared the compound and taken all the bodies to an adjacent hospital, run by the temple, for identification and autopsies, said police official K.G. Khan. Outside, villagers wailed in anguish upon receiving word that their loved ones had perished. Gudal, a 38-year-old farmer who uses only one name, wept over the death of her 7-year-old daughter, Ranjana. “She had just wandered in to see what was happening,” she said. Deadly stampedes are a relatively common at temples in India, where large crowds - sometimes numbering hundreds of thousands - gather in tiny areas with no safety measures or crowd control. In 2008, more than 145 people died in a stampede at a remote Hindu temple at the foothills of the Himalayas. The handout in Kunda is an annual tradition arranged by Maharaj and usually draws a few hundred people, but the event was announced more broadly this year and drew several thousand villagers, said state lawmaker Raghuraj Pratap Singh, who represents Kunda. By Thursday evening, all the victims had been identified and police handed bodies over to relatives to carry back to home villages, Khan said. As bodies were claimed, temple officials at the hospital gave donations of 10,000 rupees (220 dollars) to families who lost relatives. Police deployed an ambulance for Saroj, the farmer, to take the bodies of his three relatives on the 5-kilometer (3-mile) trip back to his village of Kazipur ahead of a cremation ceremony planned for Friday. - Associated Press reporter Biswajeet Banerjee contributed to this story from Lucknow, India.
  • Sunday, April 25, 2010 World Cup Countdown – pensioner dies in ticket crush. A 64-year-old pensioner died while queuing in central Cape Town, number 565 in the line, while there were riots at other selling points. The Cape Town queue, like others around the country, began to build up last Wednesday afternoon, with people skipping work to get their hands on the prized tickets for the 64 World Cup matches. Around 120,000 of the tickets were available to South Africans for as little as $19, the lowest price at a World Cup for many years. To add to the frenzy, FIFA announced that 300 late tickets would be released for the final -- a game it previously said had been sold out -- for $142. In the capital Pretoria, police used pepper spray on people fighting in the doorway of a FIFA outlet, while fights were also broken up in Johannesburg. Television pictures showed desperate fans - and ticket touts - scuffling over the discounted seats, having queued all night with no food or water. Tempers flared as the computer system serving 11 outlets in the nine host cities crashed minutes after opening. The discount followed dire sales in South Africa, where football is largely followed by those with limited access to the internet or credit cards. The complex system used by FIFA on its website was alien to most locals, who are accustomed to paying cash for their tickets on match days. Officials acknowledged mistakes had been made and launched a new system of sales through ticketing offices and supermarkets, hoping to sell out the tournament as they are keen to make sure no empty seats remain when games are beamed to living rooms and bars across the globe this summer. Over 2.3m of the 2.7m tickets have now been sold for the tournament, which kicks off on June 11. Of the tournament's 64 matches, 29 have sold out, including the opening and final matches, and both semi-finals.
  • 2010 - June 28th More than 100 taken to hospitals during Electric Daisy Carnival. Two-day electronic music festival drew 185,000. Officials say 226 people suffered injuries, 114 of whom went to hospitals. Extent of injuries was not known. By Corina Knoll, Los Angeles Times. June 28, 2010. More than 100 people were taken to hospitals and dozens were arrested during a two-day electronic music festival at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and at Exposition Park, authorities said.The 14th annual Electric Daisy Carnival, which featured carnival rides, five stages and performances by Moby, Will.i.am, Steve Aoki and Deadmau5, drew a total of 185,000 people on Friday and Saturday, said Alexandra Greenberg, a publicist for the event. Because of the size of the event, paramedics were stationed at an on-site command post, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Devin Gales said. Over the two days, 226 injuries were reported, 114 of which required attention at hospitals. No deaths were reported, and the extent of the injuries was not known. Some injuries were a result of people rushing gates in an attempt to overwhelm security and get inside without the required $75 ticket. Some attendees who had tickets were seen climbing barriers to VIP sections. Greenberg declined to comment about the arrests and injuries. An Exposition Park safety official also said he could not comment. Andres Casas, 30, was sitting in the stands of the at-capacity Coliseum about 7 p.m. Saturday when he saw hundreds surge onto the field, climbing fences and trampling food and drink tents. "It was like a waterfall of people," he said. "They actually had to stop the music and the emcee yelled to stop acting like fools." The Los Angeles Police Department had a heavy presence at the event, deploying at least two helicopters and stationing officers along the perimeter of the venue. The department reported 63 people arrested Saturday night, nine of them juveniles. Offenses included possession and sale of narcotics, trespassing and drinking in public. The Electric Daisy Carnival was held from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. both days and was open to ages 16 and up. It was produced by Insomniac Events, an L.A.-based promotions company that also hosts a similar New Year's Eve event.
  • 24th July 2010. Duisberg, Germany- 21 dead and A memorial service will be held today for the 21 people who died at loveparade last Saturday. The catalyst of the problem was the overcrowding in the 100 metre long and 16 metre wide tunnel after which local police closed the grounds. The tunnel rapidly became stuffed up and hot with thousands of people inside. Panic spread like wildfire as people collapsed. Some tried to escape via a ladder but fell nine metres as they tried to escape. 10 people were resuscitated there and then. Medical staff on the scene said that the 15 people who died at the festival died from asphyxiation and back injuries. 6 more people would die in hospital. Despite safety experts, fire officers and police warnings the festival went ahead on the insufficient 230,000 square metres (considering at least 1 million people would attend) and 21 people suffered the consequences. 30th July 1755 GMT German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to attend tomorrow's funeral for the victims of last Saturday's incident. It will be an Ecumenical church service, accompanied by a live screening at the Duisburg football stadium for up to 25,000 people. 550 places are reserved at Duisburg's main Protestant Church 'Salvatorkirche' for relatives of the dead as well as the injured. Sauerland has enjoyed popularity in Duisburg prior to the loveparade however this has plumetted since the disaster that was loveparade. Members from his political party the CDU (Christian Democrat Party) have suggested he should resign. However Sauerland claims that he did not sign any official permission for the event and so is not directly to blame for the incidents. On Wednesday an initial police report put the blame on the private organiser of the event saying that agreed security measures had not been implemented. In an interview with www.bild.de the organiser of the loveparade Rainer Schaller confirmed that the company has 'a liability insurance of over €7.5 million'. He also said that the company will analyse the causes and question the 2,000 members of staff. Schaller has also announced that the festival will not take place again. Axa insurance granted an advance of €1 million as emergency aid for the victims of the event, Schaller has also contributed to this aid. Prosecutors, in the early stages of investigation are looking at the organizers for a litany of safety flaws resulting in the loveparade tragedy. According to the State Chief of Police, Dieter Wehe, the blame for the chain of mistakes by which 500 people were injured rests with the organizers. Initial mistakes were cited as: 1. The opening of the grounds 2 hours before earlier than expected leading to a block in the tunnel. Police found it difficult to control the crowds because of this early start. 2.There were fewer stewards than promised on the day. 3. stewards did not react to an order to close the access points to stop the influx of people. 4. A lack of loud speakers around the tunnel area made it very difficult for police to vocally combat the magnitude of the music and crowds. Regarding the people who died on the 24th July it seems that as people tried to escape via a concrete set of steps, many were crushed against the railings and steps. This is the area where many people died. Fencing and debris on the ground caused people to trip up, resulting in a pile-on of people. The cause of death on the day was suffocation. The Interior Minister of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia said' I find it outrageous that the organizers and the city of Duisburg have absolved themselves of responsibility before all the facts are known'. According to the Cologne based newsgroup Stadt-Anzeiger the head of Duisburg's fire brigade contacted Mayor Adolf Sauerland in October 2009 to say that the loveparade venue, a disused railway freight grounds, were 'physically not suitable'. An estimated 1.4 million people attended the festival but according to the Spiegel magazine the festival only had authorisation for 250,000 revellers. The investigation into the 20 deaths is looking at 'negligent manslaughter' and 'negligent bodily harm'. No-one has been accused yet. The following are rumours  1. The Mayor had been warned by the Chief Fire Officer in advance that the area was not suitable for the expected crowd.  2. Local police and/or a private security company sealed one end of the tunnel when the grounds became too full 3. The Duisburg Council and/or the festival organisers should have not have allowed the event to take place at the location. 4. The police warned of the risk involved with staging the festival but were ignored. Please note the above quotes/comments are from PRESS REPORTS at the time of the incident.
  • October 17th 2010. 10 killed in Stampede at Indian Temple. by the CNN Wire Staff -- At least 10 people were killed and as many others injured in a stampede that broke out during a ritual at a Durga temple in Bihar, India, the nation's official Doordarshan news agency reported Sunday via the Indian government's website. The stampede broke out Saturday night, the news agency said, at the temple in Bihar's Banka district during the "Navrati" festival, one of the most celebrated festivals of the Hindu calendar. More than 45,000 devotees were at the temple to offer prayers and sacrifice goats when the stampede occurred, officials told Doordarshan. A portion of the sacrificed goat's body fell on some people, creating a scare that led to the stampede, according to the report. "Ten deaths have been confirmed so far, while four are stated to be in critical condition," District Magistrate Aadesh Chitarmare told the news agency.
  • October 24th 2010. Stampede at Soccer Game Kills 7 in Keyna By Faith Karimi, CNN -- A stampede that killed at least seven soccer fans in the Kenyan capital started after a group without tickets tried to storm through a stadium entrance, a game official said Sunday. The incident occurred Saturday at a Nairobi stadium where longtime rivals AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia were playing. "Some people piled in one gate because they didn't have tickets," said Frank Okoth, a manager at Kenyan Premier League. "It was raining heavily, and they found a gate with a weak structure, so they pushed through it." Others waiting at the gate with tickets were affected, Okoth said. The stampede left "many others injured," according to league officials. "When the gate fell, people were pushed down," Okoth said. "Others stepped on them in their rush to get in. Hundreds of people stumbled on them again and again." Okoth said he did not know how many people were injured. "We are planning to meet with emergency and hospital services to get those numbers," he said. League officials said during the stampede, an "agitated spectator" rushed into the field in the first half to alert game officials. The spectator tried to "get the referee to stop the match because ... people are being crushed to death," a statement on the league's website said. At the time, an ambulance was at the scene attending to victims. The match resumed after a temporary interruption. Gor Mahia defeated the Leopards, 1-0. An investigation is under way, Okoth said. The nation's league comprises 16 teams, including the two playing Saturday. NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 23 - At least seven people died while scores of others were injured following a stampede at a football match between perennial rivals Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards on Saturday night. Police and Kenya Red Cross officials said six of the victims were trampled to death as thousands of fans tried to force their way into the Nyayo National Stadium. The seventh person died at the Kenyatta National Hospital where 11 other fans were undergoing treatment for injuries. "Our emergency rescue teams are on the ground and they have been able to confirm the deaths of six people whose bodies have been found outside the stadium. They are five males and a female," Kenya Red Cross spokesman Titus Mung'ou, told Capital News on telephone. "We can also confirm that another person has succumbed to injuries at the Kenyatta National Hospital," he said and added: "That is what we at the Red Cross can say for now because there are several other emergency rescue teams from other organizations involved." Nairobi Deputy Police chief Moses Nyakwama earlier told Capital News: "Twelve people have been rushed to hospital with critical injuries. We have our officers at the scene. There are fatalities but we are yet to know the exact number because there are those who have died at the stadium and at the hospital." Rescue efforts were underway outside the Nyayo National Stadium even as the match between the two teams continued. One of the injured fans Jimmy Oredo who was treated and discharged at the Kenyatta National Hospital said congestion at one of the entries into the stadium led to the stampede. "I was in the queue and so many people were outside queuing at a very tiny entrance. Those people (organisers) were very slow," said Mr Oredo. "There were so many people outside and they forced themselves towards the gate and it caved in. A lot of people fell on me," he added. Kenya Premier League (KPL) Medical Chairman Andrew Sulleh who was at the hospital said trouble started when some fans tried to get to the main stand to shield themselves from rain.  "It was raining heavily so people started to cross over to the main dais so that they don't get rained on. In the process, there was a stampede and some of the people were injured, and the gate that leads out of the stadium for the ambulance was closed and it forced fans to carry the injured round (the stadium) to get to the ambulance," said Mr Sulleh. "As we resuscitated the victims, there was still no access for the ambulances to get into the stadium and some of the people who we could have saved died as we watched," he added. "The stadium was packed. Even after the arrival of three other ambulances, they still could not access the stadium," said Mr Sulleh. Earlier this year, football's Word governing body FIFA banned the stadium due to safety and security concerns. Gor Mahia eventually won the game 1-0 following an 87th minute penalty that was converted by Collins Okoth. By WALTER MENYA Posted Saturday, October 23 2010 at 20:26. Seven football fans, including a young woman, died on Saturday night when a stampede broke out at a highly-charged Kenyan Premier League football match between Gor Mahia and arch-rivals AFC Leopards at the Nyayo National Stadium The head of the Kenyan Premier League medical department, Dr Andrew Suleh, said the young woman died as he and other medical personnel waited for ambulances to gain entry into the packed stadium to take her to hospital. And police on Saturday night put the figure of casualties at seven from the stampede shortly after the match kicked off at 7pm. At the Kenyatta National Hospital, Dr Suleh said the young woman, in her early 20s, died as they tried to resuscitate her. “There were very many people at the stadium and when it started raining, they were struggling to get into the VIP centre stand, causing the stampede,” Dr Suleh said.  “The main gate was packed with people and it was impossible for the ambulances to get through.” Dr Suleh recounted the woman dying as his team tried to resuscitate her at the match which was broadcast live throughout the continent. “Her last words were ‘can’t you people do something’, words she uttered shortly before she passed off. On Saturday night, more than 20 fans were in critical condition in what goes down as Kenya’s worst sporting disaster. As disaster struck, most of the fans inside the stadium were not aware of what was going on, although the match was held up for about 15 minutes as fans spilled onto the pitch. “The emergency gate remained closed which is quite unfortunate as it is supposed to be opened,” Dr Suleh said. “The young lady died because the ambulance could not get to her.”  This game has surprised everybody,” Kenyan Premier League official Frank Okoth said at half-time in an interview on pay television channel Supersport that was televising the match from the stadium. “There were so many fans outside who attempted to force their way into the stadium but they did not have match tickets.” Witnesses blamed Football Kenya Limited and the Kenya Premier League for poor organisation leading to many fans being locked out. One fan, Ken Mugonyi, told the Sunday Nation that there was no football official and neither were the police on sight to control the surging crowds. The fan said people were trampled upon by fans who wanted to get into the stadium. “There were neither ambulances nor assistance. Absolutely nothing,” an angry fan who witnessed the incident said. Instead, it was the members of the public who attempted to assist the injured to hospital. Many of those injured were said to have sustained broken limbs and ribs. Inside the stadium, the match went on albeit with an interruption when a fan strayed onto the pitch as a Gor Mahia player was preparing to take a corner kick. The fan was roughed up as he was led off the field of play. The match was stopped for about 15 minutes as the match referee consulted with the linesmen and the fourth official. Gor Mahia won the match 1-0 through a late penalty scored by Collins Okoth. A fortnight ago, at the Kenya vs Uganda Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, surging crowds broke the gate to the VIP section of the Nyayo National Stadium but no injuries were reported. In 2005, a fan died in another Africa Cup of Nations-cum-2006 World Cup qualifying match between Kenya and Morocco, prompting world football governing body, Fifa, to order the stadium capacity at Nyayo reduced to 26,000 from its 30,000 capacity.
  • 22nd November Cambodia stampede kills at least 375 at festival Cambodia searched for answers on Tuesday a day after a stampede killed at least 375 people on a suspension bridge where survivors said they were wedged into the crowd of living and dead for hours.The government launched an investigation into why thousands panicked late on Monday on the pedestrian bridge connecting Phnom Penh to an island where mostly young people celebrated the last day of a festival marking the end of the rainy season. Survivors recounted scenes of mass suffocation and desperate screams after thousands went into a frenzy to flee the bridge, apparently after shouts went up that some people had been electrocuted. Police said some also shouted that the bridge was about to collapse. The victims suffocated or were trampled and some survivors said they were wedged into the crowd for hours. Police sprayed water so survivors could drink. About 755 people were injured. "People were shouting that someone had been electrocuted, to run back," Touch Loch, 18, told Reuters. "I fell and people stepped on me until I passed out. When I woke I was here in hospital." "People were crying for their fathers and mothers." Phay Siphan, a government spokesman, denied anyone was electrocuted on the bridge, which was adorned with flashing lights. He said it was designed to sway, but the movement took pedestrians by surprise and some shouted it was broken. "The cause was panic, not electrocution," he told reporters who gathered in front of the bridge, which was littered with shoes and clothing left by victims. Khon Sros, 19, said from her hospital bed some people had leapt off the bridge to escape but she had been pinned in the crowd from her waist down until police pulled her out. "One man died near me. He was weak and didn't have enough air." "I THOUGHT I WAS DEAD" Touch Theara, 38, said she had been stuck in the crowd for three hours: "I thought I was dead ... Police sprayed water at us. We were just opening our mouths to drink." Prime Minister Hun Sen apologised for the disaster and ordered an investigation as television footage showed relatives weeping over bodies of the dead piled one on top of the other. "This is the biggest tragedy in more than 31 years after the Pol Pot regime," he said, referring to the Khmer Rouge, whose agrarian revolution from 1975-1979 killed an estimated 1.7 million people in Cambodia under the command of Pol Pot. He declared Thursday a day of mourning. The narrow bridge connects Phnom Penh to the man-made Diamond Island, also known as Koh Pich, a commercial park that opened this year. Private interests, along with municipal and national authorities, organised events including a music performance and trade fair as part of the annual Bon Om Touk water festival. Government spokesman Phay Siphan said some people crossed over a larger vehicle bridge on the opposite end of the island. Many of those people attempted to leave by walking back to the mainland over the pedestrian bridge, where they ran into revellers crossing in the opposite direction. He said police were unable to control the large crowd. "We deployed a lot, but couldn't respond quickly," he said. The tragedy raised questions about why so many people were allowed to enter such a confined space. Ahead of the festival, authorities predicted about 2-million people would flock to Phnom Penh, nearly doubling the city's population. Revellers traditionally gather on the riverfront to take part in festivities such as dragon boat races and fireworks. Organisers should have foreseen the danger of holding events for the first time on an island with such limited access, said Yim Sovann, spokesman for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party. Hun Sen ruled out terrorism as a cause for the catastrophe, which took place on the third and final day of the festival, the biggest carnival in a city that was for years starved of entertainment as it recovered from years of war and isolation. The festival marks the end of the life-giving rains when the swollen Tonle Sap river changes course and begins flowing back out of Cambodia's great lake into the Mekong river. The stampede was the world's worst since January 2006, when 362 Muslim pilgrims were crushed to death while performing a stoning ritual at the entrance to the Jamarat Bridge near Mecca in Saudi Arabia. (Editing by Jason Szep and Robert Birsel) Hundreds killed in Cambodian festival stampede At least 345 people have been killed in a stampede during festival celebrations in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, Prime Minister Hun Sen has said. Huge crowds had gathered on a small island for the final day of the Water Festival, one of the main events of the year in Cambodia. The stampede took place on a bridge, which eyewitnesses said had become overcrowded. Hundreds more people were injured in the crush. Hun Sen described the stampede as the "biggest tragedy" to hit Cambodia since the mass killings carried out by the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s. He said he had ordered an investigation and declared a national day of mourning for later in the week. He ordered all government ministries to fly the nation's flag at half-mast. Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith told AFP news agency that more than 400 people had been injured. "Most of the deaths were as a result of suffocation and internal injuries," he said. Authorities had estimated that more than two million people would attend the three-day festival. Panic broke out after a concert on Diamond Island, which followed a boat race on the Tonle Sap river regarded as a highlight of the festivities. Sean Ngu, an Australian who was visiting family and friends in Cambodia, told the BBC too many people had been on the bridge. He said some of the victims were electrocuted. "There were too many people on the bridge and then both ends were pushing," he said. "This caused a sudden panic. The pushing caused those in the middle to fall to the ground, then [get] crushed. "Panic started and at least 50 people jumped in the river. People tried to climb on to the bridge, grabbing and pulling [electric] cables which came loose and electrical shock caused more deaths." Witnesses spoke of bodies littering the area. Calmette Hospital, Phnom Penh's main medical facility, was filled with dead bodies as well as the injured, some of whom had to be treated in hallways. PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA.At Least 180 Killed In Stampede At Cambodian Festival Cambodian police say at least 180 people have been killed in a stampede during a festival in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, today. Authorities estimated some 2 million people are in Phnom Penh for the Water Festival. Reports from the scene said ambulances were still arriving at the Tonle Sap River to take injured away. Officials said they expected the death toll to rise. "This is the biggest tragedy we have ever seen," said Governor of Daun Penh district, Sok Sambath.... — At least 180 people were killed in a stampede on a bridge during a water festival in Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh, the country's prime minister said on television on Tuesday. Prime Minister Hun Sen said scores of people were crushed in the stampede late on Monday, and many people leapt from the bridge across the Tonle Sap river. A Reuters cameraman and a witness said they saw more than 100 bodies. Authorities had estimated that upward of two million people would descend on Phnom Penh for the three-day water festival, which marks the end of the rainy season and whose main attraction is traditional boat races along the river. A witness said the crowd began to panic when a few people fell unconscious in the crush. Hospital sources said 17 people were dead on arrival.

2011 Disasters

  • 15th January, Kerala, India, 102 pilgrims killed in stampede at Indian festival By ANNA MATHEWS Associated Press. A stampede of pilgrims returning from one of India's most popular Hindu festivals killed at least 102 people and injured 44 others, officials said Saturday. The stampede was set off Friday night when a group of pilgrims in a jeep drove into a crowd of worshippers walking along a narrow forest path as they returned from offering prayers at the hilltop Sabarimala shrine in the state of Kerala in southern India, said local police official Sanjay Kumar. All the injured were hospitalized, some in serious condition, Kumar told The Associated Press. "We have recovered 102 bodies. The rescue work is almost over," he said. The area was flooded with pilgrims and the stampede occurred nearly 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of the temple site, Kumar said. The annual two-month festival attracts millions of worshippers to the remote temple to the Hindu deity Ayyappan. The ceremony Friday marked the end of the festival, and an estimated 150,000 devotees were thought to have taken the narrow path out of the densely forested hills where the stampede took place, said Thomas Isaac, the state finance minister. Nearly 2,000 police officers were deployed near the shrine to prevent such an accident from happening. At the small state-run hospital in the nearby town of Kumali, scores of volunteers helped distraught family members identify the dead. The bodies were wrapped in white shrouds and placed in wooden coffins before being handed over to the relatives. Isaac said 72 bodies had been identified by late Saturday. "Our priority now is to identify the rest of the bodies and hand them over to the families of the victims," he said. Rescue workers found it difficult to reach the stampede site due to the dense tropical forests on the hills surrounding the vast Sabarimala temple complex, Isaac said. Manoj Kutty, 33, was returning from Sabarimala after participating in a lamp lighting ceremony and evening prayers when the stampede occurred. "People were rushing downhill, and we could see people fall down and others fall over them. It all happened in seconds," Kutty said. The hillside was strewn with clothes, bags and slippers abandoned by pilgrims as they fled down the hill when the stampede began. Roads leading to the stampede site were cordoned and groups of pilgrims stood in a daze waiting for buses to ferry them away. A small stampede at Sabarimala last week killed one pilgrim, the Press Trust of India news agency reported. Deadly stampedes are relatively common at temples in India, where large crowds gather in tiny areas with no safety measures or crowd control. In March, 63 people were killed when poor villagers scrambled for free food and clothing being given away at a ceremony at a temple in northern Uttar Pradesh state. In 2008, more than 145 people died in a stampede at a remote Hindu temple at the foothills of the Himalayas.
  • 16th January, Budapest, Hungary.3 young women die in stampede at nightclub in Hungary; organizers in police custody The Associated Press Jan 16, 2011 17:16:46 PM - Three young women died in a stampede at a Hungarian nightclub, police said Sunday. Five people, including the organizers of the event, were taken into custody.  Thousands of people were caught up in the stampede late Saturday and the victims may have been trampled by the rushing crowd, Budapest police spokeswoman Katalin Fanni Horvath said. Police and medical investigators were working to determine the cause of the deaths. Police have denied reports that the victims were stabbed. "Human irresponsibility caused the deaths of the three victims," Interior Minister Sandor Pinter told reporters late Sunday, adding that drugs had been detected in one of the young women. The incident occurred late Saturday at the West-Balkan nightclub in downtown Budapest, housed on several levels inside a communist-era shopping mall and office complex. According to district officials, the venue was functioning without a full permit and being allowed to operate only until 10 p.m. with a maximum capacity of 300 people. An estimated 2,500 people were in the nightclub when the incident occurred just before midnight and 2,881 tickets had been sold, Night Noise Life, the organizing company, said in a message posted Sunday afternoon on its Facebook page. Interior Minister Pinter said 4,000 tickets had been printed. Family, friends and other mourners lit candles and laid flowers Sunday night outside the nightclub which is across a busy avenue from one of Budapest's main railroad stations. Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his wife, Aniko Levay, also lit candles at the scene.
  • 12th Feb Port Harcourt, Nigeria. 11 dead, 29 injured.Stampede at Nigerian president's rally kills 11 PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria (AFP) – A stampede at a campaign rally on Saturday for Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in the oil-producing Niger Delta region killed at least 11 people and injured 29 others, police said. The incident occurred in the oil city of Port Harcourt after Jonathan addressed the crowd, according to witnesses. A witness said a police officer shot into the air as crowd members surged out of the 20,000-seat stadium. While the gunshots were apparently aimed at controlling the crowd, they instead created panic, with the main gate appearing locked and rally-goers attempting to leave through a narrow passageway. A number of people were trampled in the rush, witnesses said, and other exits to the stadium appeared locked with Jonathan still on the premises. Police in a statement asked members of the public to come forward with information on the cause, but made no mention of an officer shooting into the air. "The mishap was said to have been caused by a stampede as a result of a surging crowd which led to the death of 11 persons and causing injuries to about 29 others," police said. Jonathan, who is the first president from the Niger Delta region in the country's south, issued a statement expressing grief over the incident. "I am sad, and heavily weighed down by this incident. It is sad, unfortunate and regrettable," he said.The president directed an investigation into the cause of the frenzied rush "that led to the unfortunate loss of some lives." Chris Amadi, a ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member from Rivers State, where Port Harcourt is the capital, said he saw more than 10 people trampled over by the mammoth crowd. "I personally saw many people ran over by the crowd. In fact, I saw the bodies of three women being carried into an open pick-up van by the... (emergency management agency) officials," he said. Jonathan kicked off his campaign ahead of the April 9 election on Monday and set off on a cross-country tour. Heavy security has been in place, with Nigeria hit by a surge of violence in recent weeks. The violence has included bomb attacks in the central city of Jos and the capital Abuja. There have also been attacks at political rallies in recent months, though none have occurred at Jonathan's campaign gatherings. Saturday's rally was something of a homecoming for Jonathan, who is from neighbouring Bayelsa state. He is the heavy favourite in the election, with the PDP having won every presidential vote since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999. However, he faces pressure to hold a credible vote after a series of violent and badly flawed elections in Africa's most populous nation.
  • 22nd Feb Mali stampede in Bamako 'kills dozens'. At least 36 people have been killed in a stampede at a stadium in the Malian capital of Bamako, officials say. More than 60 others were injured in the incident, which occurred at the end of a sermon given by imam Osman Madani Haidara. The stampede happened at the Modibo Keita Stadium, which seats 25,000. The crowd wanted to be blessed by the imam after the speech, made on the festival of Maouloud, the Prophet Muhammad's birthday. The BBC's Martin Vogl in Bamako says the blessing is an event that many Muslims in Mali look forward to with great excitement. Osman Madani Haidara is one of Mali's best-loved and most-respected imams and the stadium was filled well beyond its capacity when the stampede happened at around 1800 local time, he says. Most of the dead were crushed against metal fencing as they waited to leave, Mali's minister of interior security and civil protection said. Relatives gathered at the Gabriel Toure Hospital, trying to find out information about the dead and wounded. "I've already had it confirmed that my aunt died," Sidiki Coulibaly told the Associated Press news agency. "We are now trying to find out what happened to her daughter. She's just 10 years old. They go to this event together every year."Almost all of the dead were women, our correspondent says. There was little anger at the hospital where many of the grieving saw the accident as destiny or God's will rather than just a case of bad organisation, he says. Mali's prime minister has visited the hospital to see the wounded and give his condolences to the bereaved families. A couple of hours after the stampede security personnel at the stadium were still clearing away piles of clothing and other personal belongings at the scene, our reporter says. Mali stampede tragedy. Tue Feb 22 2011. At least 36 people have been killed in a stampede at a stadium in Mali's capital. Thousands of people had gathered in Barnako to listen to an Islamic preacher, who was speaking as part of the Muslim festival of Maouloud. Reports say the crush happened when people surged forward to touch the preacher for good luck. An official involved in the organisation of the event said nearly all those killed were women. Crowds of people were gathering at the hospital on Tuesday morning to identify the bodies. At least 26 people were killed during Maouloud last year in a stampede near a mosque in Mali's northern desert city of Timbuktu. 
  • 10th July 2011: Stampede outside music festival kills 7 in the Congo. SEVEN people died and 30 were injured during a stampede outside a Brazzaville stadium where a pan-African musical festival opened, the Congolese culture minister announced. Jean Claude Gakosso said on Sunday that seven Congolese died as security forces failed to control a stampede outside the Felix Eboue stadium, the venue for the 8th Pan-African Music Festival (Fespam). Authorities cancelled the festival as a result. The Fespam was created in 1996 and is held every two years under the aegis of the African Union and in partnership with the International Centre of Bantu Civilisations, the International Music Council and UNESCO.
  • 22nd Nov. Stampede at soccer final kills two From: AFP. TWO Indonesian soccer fans have reportedly died in a stampede at the Southeast Asia Games final against Malaysia. "When we found the victims, they were already dead," paramedic Abdul Majid told Detik.com news portal outside the stadium in Jakarta. The two men wearing Indonesian red-and-white soccer team T-shirts were taken to hospital at 8.30pm local time last night, around 90 minutes after the stampede broke out. "As we were entering the stadium, the crowd of people pushed each other to make their way forward," Helmi, brother of one of the victims, said. "My brother was pushed away from me and we were separated. I then heard that some people had fallen and that people had died. I rushed to check and found my brother dead." The identity of the second victim was unknown. Local media reported that several other spectators had been taken to hospital, including a nine-year-old boy who had fallen into a coma. On the field, Malaysia defended their title with a 4-3 win on penalties after the teams were locked at 1-1 following extra time. Deadly stampedes at major sporting, music and religious events are common in Indonesia. Violence at soccer games is also common, with disgruntled fans often throwing dangerous items onto the field after matches. Earlier in the day, two men were arrested for burning down a ticket booth at the stadium upon learning the match had sold out, media reported. Jakarta Police admitted on Tuesday to being overwhelmed by the crowd during the Southeast Asian Games football final on Monday, when two fans were trampled to death in a tragedy that hung over the event’s closing. Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Baharudin Djafar said it was impossible for the available personnel to keep more than 100,000 people in check.  He said police and event organizers would evaluate the circumstances of the incident. Two fans were killed in the crush to get into Gelora Bung Karno stadium, where Monday’s football final pitted Indonesia and archrival Malaysia. A third victim, a young boy, is reportedly in a coma. The deaths came just hours after frustrated fans burned down a ticket booth after failing to get tickets for the game despite waiting in line since Sunday night. Baharudin said those officers who were present during the incident would be questioned. “Those personnel who were on guard at the time will be questioned over the incident,” he said. “All information will be gathered and put into a report.” Police said the tragedy took place when fans tried to push their way into the already-packed stadium. He said a number of policemen guarding Gelora Bung Karno’s Gate 7 in Section 15 could not hold the crush of supporters without tickets who continued to try to enter the stadium. “The personnel then could only concentrate on those supporters who were trampled in the stampede, help them and take them out of the path of the crowd and bring them to hospital,” Baharudin said. The stampede took place shortly before the match started, after the gates gave way under the pressure and the crowd competed to get inside. During the ensuing confusion, emergency services personnel could not immediately evacuate the victims to the hospital. The ambulance was stuck in heavy traffic congestion in and around the stadium while the key to an ambulance that was available nearby could not immediately be located.  The bodies reached the Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital two and a half hours later. Late on Monday evening, the Jakarta Globe saw at least nine victims who had fainted in the stampede, including five women, being treated at a medical post set up on the stadium grounds. Ten other supporters, including one woman, were also taken to the Navy hospital not far from the stadium, including at least eight who were caught up in tight crowds or stampedes. Indonesia’s Games organizing committee, known as Inasoc, had said prior to the event’s opening two weeks ago that it had two helicopters on hand to rescue injured players or spectators from the massive stadium in the often-jammed south of Jakarta. “I was not there and cannot comment on why helicopters weren’t used,” Inasoc chairwoman Rita Subowo told Agence France-Presse. The tragedy followed complaints of poor organization at the multi-sport Games. It was preceded by calls for calm ahead of the flashpoint football final between the regional arch rivals.

2012 Disasters

  • 10th Jan Mother killed in University of Johannesburg stampede. By Aislinn Laing, Johannesburg 3:19PM GMT 10 Jan 2012. The mother of a prospective undergraduate student was crushed to death after a stampede broke out in a 8,000-strong crowd trying to snap up last-minute spaces at the University of Johannesburg. The crush developed early on Tuesday after security guards at the South African university opened a small gate to admit applicants through the university clearing system. As students and their parents pushed to get through the gate, some fell to the ground and were trampled while others were forced against the sharp metal fencing. One woman died at the scene from head and chest injuries while three others were left in a critical condition. A further 17 people were treated for minor injuries. Queues formed on Sunday and quickly stretched for a mile. South Africa has an unemployment rate of 51 per cent among young people, and many see university as their only way to avoid joining the jobless. Last year, the university received 85,000 applications for 11,000 first-year places. By Monday this week, 5,000 applications were filed for approximately 800 overspill spaces. Patricia Thulani, 18, from Pretoria, had stayed overnight and was close to the front of the crowd when the stampede happened."I fell over and some were trying to help me up but others just rushed over me. It was horrific," she said. "I was just praying - I really thought I was going to die. I kept thinking: 'Why am I doing this?' But I know why - we're all here for the same reason.We want good educations so we can get jobs. "The police sent a van in through the crowd and I managed to get on top of the bonnet. If it wasn't for that, I'm not sure I would still be here." Fiona Maila, 36, accompanying her daughter Thandiwe, said university authorities should have learned the lesson from a similar crush last year."We Africans always do things at the last minute, it's part of our culture," she said. "They really need to organise it better." Another woman, who did not want to be named for fear it would jeopardise the application she eventually managed to submit yesterday, was separated from her father in the crush. "The security guards told us to form queues but people just refused to cooperate - they were climbing the fence and pushing at the main gate until it broke," she said, her trousers caked in dust. "We were told it was a first-come-first served basis so people were desperate. There are so few places that you worry you're not going to make it." Her father, who had blood on his shirt, was just metres from the woman who was killed. "It was incredibly frightening," he said. "People were piled on top of each other. We heard screaming and someone having what sounded like an asthma attack. I saw a woman fall down and later heard she had died." Fundiswa Hoyi, 20, said there appeared to be more parents than students. "You would expect them to tell people off for pushing but they were the worst," she said. "If the university had just divided people up into subjects, or had admissions on various campuses, this wouldn't have happened."Dirk Hermann, deputy general secretary of the trade union Solidarity, said students were aware that their chances of getting a job were boosted from 50 per cent to 80 per cent with post-school education. "The problem we have is that there are too many students with university degrees and not enough with technical qualifications in key areas such as nursing and artisanal work because our higher education colleges are dysfunctional," he said. Blade Nzimande, the Higher Education Minister, has announced an overhaul of higher education colleges. He added that he was considering banning walk-in university registrations entirely. Police had restored calm among the 800 students remained in front of the locked gates hoping to register inside. Blankets, umbrellas, documents and abandoned shoes lay scattered around them.
  • 2nd Feb 2012:  Egypt football violence leaves many dead in Port Said (source BBC News). At least 74 people have been killed in clashes between rival fans following a football match in the Egyptian city of Port Said. Scores were injured as fans - reportedly armed with knives - invaded the pitch after a match between top-tier clubs al-Masry and al-Ahly. Officials fear the death toll could rise further. It is the biggest disaster in the country's football history, said the Egyptian deputy health minister. "This is unfortunate and deeply saddening," Hesham Sheiha told state television. Some of the dead were security officers, the Associated Press news agency quoted a morgue official as saying. Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the head of Egypt's ruling army council, went to a airbase near Cairo to welcome back al-Ahly players who were flown back from Port Said on a military aircraft."This will not bring Egypt down... These incidents happen anywhere in the world. We will not let those behind it go," he said, AP reports. A statement posted on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces' Facebook page announced three days of national mourning, beginning on Thursday. The statement also promised a full investigation into the incident. 'Black day' The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo says it appears some fans had taken knives into the stadium. Our correspondent says the lack of the usual level of security in the stadium might have contributed to the clashes. Police in Egypt have been keeping a much lower profile since last year's popular protests that ousted President Hosni Mubarak from power. Egyptian fans are notoriously violent, says our correspondent, particularly supporters of al-Ahly known as the Ultras. They have been heavily implicated in confronting the police during recent political protests, our correspondent adds. There is speculation that the security forces may have had an interest in taking on al-Ahly supporters. Wednesday's violence broke out at the end of the match, which, unusually, Port Said side al-Masry won 3-1.tnesses said the atmosphere had been tense throughout the match - since an al-Ahly fan raised a banner insulting supporters of the home team. As the match ended, their fans flooded onto the pitch attacking Ahly players and fans. A small group of riot police tried to protect the players, but were overwhelmed. Part of the stadium was set on fire. 'Rage in their eyes' Officials say most of the deaths were caused by concussions, deep cuts to the heads and suffocation from the stampede. "This is not football. This is a war and people are dying in front of us," al-Ahly player Mohamed Abo Treika said. Hani Seddik, who played for al-Ahly as a teenager, told the BBC: "I don't think this is about football. These trouble-makers were not football fans." "How were they allowed to carry knives into the ground? To me, this is the actions of people who do not want the country to be stable and want to put off tourists from coming here," said Mr Seddik, who was watching the match on TV in Cairo. One al-Ahly fan in Cairo told the BBC that a large march from al-Ahly club to the Interior Ministry is being planned for tomorrow. "People are angry at the regime more than anything else... People are really angry, you could see the rage in their eyes," Mohammed Abdel Hamid said. Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood - which has emerged as Egypt's biggest party in recent elections - blamed supporters of ousted President Hosni Mubarak for the violence. "The events in Port Said are planned and are a message from the remnants of the former regime," Muslim Brotherhood lawmaker Essam al-Erian said. He went on by saying that the army and police wanted to silence critics demanding an end to state of emergency in the country. Hani Seddik, former al-Ahly player: "I think it's more like some people were planning it". In Cairo, another match was halted by the referee after news of the Port Said violence. It prompted fans to set parts of the stadium on fire. All premier-league matches have been cancelled and the newly-elected Egyptian parliament is to hold an emergency session on Thursday. Fifa President Sepp Blatter issued a statement, expressing his shock over the incident. "This is a black day for football. Such a catastrophic situation is unimaginable and should not happen," he said. Jon Leyne. BBC News, Cairo. Football fans in Egypt can be violent, and certainly there is a bitter rivalry between these two teams. The al-Ahly fans, known as Ultras, have a particular reputation for violence. But lately they have been at the forefront of clashes with the police. On the social media, there has been speculation - and I hasten to add there is no evidence - that the security forces may have had an interest in taking on al-Ahly supporters. Certainly riot police did not seem to be very effective, they were standing around, but maybe there simply were not enough there.  Port Said football disaster exposes political vacuum left by revolution. Deaths of 74 fans in football riots are a sign of deteriorating security situation following last year's overthrow of Mubarak. The stadium burns during a match between Al-Ahly and Al-Masry in Port Said. At least 74 people died in violence after a pitch invasion. (Reuters). The deaths of 74 fans at a football match in the Egyptian town of Port Said has highlighted the impact that politics has had on other aspects of life in post-revolution Egypt since last year's uprising. The violence was a reminder of the deteriorating security situation in the Arab world's most populous country as instability continues nearly a year after the former president Hosni Mubarak was swept out of power in a popular uprising. The removal of the police and their replacement with the military has left security stretched, with many police officers refusing to return to work after the revolution. Following live television footage which showed images of security forces standing idly by as fans of Port Said's local team, al-Masry, stormed the pitch to chase al-Ahly players, angry fans congregated outside al-Ahly's ground to protest against the ministry of the interior and the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) for what they felt was a major lapse of security at the stadium. They had watched the pitch invasion after al-Masry had won the game 3-1, and the ensuing scuffles when players fled to dressing rooms for safety. The supporters in the stand ran into the narrow exits at the top of the stand and it is believed that the majority of the deaths were a result of the ensuing stampede. Some believe the violence was intrinsically linked to the political situation. One al-Ahly supporter outside the club, Khaled Gad, told the Guardian: "There is a strong political connection. What happened today was not just about trouble at a football match, it's related to other events in the country." He was referring to the recent removal of Egypt's longstanding emergency law with the exception of "thuggery" and recent statements by the interior minister Mohamed Yusuf of the need to keep the extraordinary powers it provides to handle recent crime-related incidents. A spate of recent incidents show an alarming lapse in the security situation in Egypt, such as the armed holdup of a HSBC bank branch in broad daylight – an almost unheard of event – and the hijacking of armoured cars as they transported money. Another fan, Mahmoud Kamel, said, "Where was the security? And where were the clubs and governorate representatives who always attend this game. This is a huge rivalry and they're always in attendance, but they weren't this time." Kamel insisted that the cause of the catastrophe was the chant against Scaf rule by al-Ahly's group of supporters known as the Ultras at a previous game. The Ultras of al-Ahly and arch-rival Zamalek played prominent roles in the 18-day uprising that spelled the end of Mubarak's rule and the violence raised fresh concerns about the ability of the state police to manage crowds. Most of the hundreds of black-uniformed police with helmets and shields stood in lines and did nothing as soccer fans chased each other, some wielding sharp objects and others hurling sticks and rocks. Security officials said the ministry has issued directives for its personnel not to "engage" with civilians after recent clashes between police and protesters in November left more than 40 people dead. But as much as there were fans chanting "down with military rule" there were others who were loath to involve politics in what they felt was a football-related incident. Scuffles between the two sets of fans have often broken out before. One man gathered at the stadium shouted to the throng: "There has always been trouble between al-Ahly and al-Masry, why bring politics into it?" Another said, "If you want to chant slogans against the military, go to Tahrir Square." Thousands of fans marched towards the Ramsis train station to receive the injured that were coming back from Port Said. Activists quickly scheduled rallies for Thursday outside the headquarters of the interior ministry in Cairo to protest against the inability of the police to stop the bloodshed. In Port Said, residents marched early Thursday, denouncing the violence and saying it was a conspiracy by the military and police to cause chaos. Army tanks and armored vehicles joined police patrolling near hospitals and morgues. Police were not to be seen in the streets after the violence and were unavailable to break up fights that followed.The tension also spread to the nearby Suez province. About 500 protesters, including soccer fans and activists, gathered outside the main police headquarters to protest what they called police negligence. A security official said the police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. He was speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to reporters. Scaf head Field Marshall Hussain Tantawi also ominously said: "People know the ones responsible for the events in Port Said, and should not let them get away with it," without elaborating, but promised to find those responsible. There is a historic rivalry between al-Ahly and al-Masry, and matches are always heated. Clubs from across the country have always felt that Egypt's premier club al-Ahly and it's Cairene counterpart Zamalek have been favoured for being the capital clubs. Between the two, they have swept the majority of league titles and cups.The events of the match also affected a match taking place at Cairo stadium between Zamalek and al-Ismailiya. Zamalek coach Hassan Shehata decided at halftime that his players would not continue the match. This caused discontent in the stands and a section of the stadium was set alight by irate fans.
  • 19th March 2012. Coptic Christians Crushed As Leader Mourned 12:46pm UK, Monday March 19, 2012At least three people have suffocated as thousands of Coptic Christians packed an Egyptian cathedral to mourn the death of their church's leader.The body of Pope Shenouda III, who died on Saturday after a long illness, is on display in St Mark's Cathedral in Cairo.Tens of thousands of mourners queued to see their beloved pontiff but as the building became overcrowded, dozens of people were caught up in the crush, officials said. State television urged mourners to avoid crowding, saying the pontiff would remain in state until the funeral on Tuesday.Shenouda's body, dressed in formal robes with a golden crown on his head and a gold-knobbed staff cradled on his shoulder, was placed upright on the tall ornate papal throne.Thousands of worshippers dressed in black, hoping for a final blessing from their spiritual leader, took pictures of Shenouda on their phones, amid tears and wailing.Baba Shenouda - or Father Shenouda - led the Copts, an estimated 10% of Egypt's population of more than 80 million, for 40 years, during which his flock was hit by a wave of sectarian attacks."It's a great loss for Egypt," tourism minister Munir Fakhry Abdelnur, a Copt and close friend of Shenuda, said. "He was wise and was widely listened to. He will be missed at a time when we need wisdom and a patriotic spirit."The death of the 88-year-old set in motion the lengthy process to elect a new patriarch for the Middle East's largest Christian community.Coptic bishops from around the world have already started to fly in for meetings on the funeral arrangements and succession.They will pick three candidates whose names will then be written on pieces of paper before a blindfolded child is asked to select one at random - guided by "the will of God".However, it could take months before a successor is found, according to Fuad Girgis, a prominent Christian in Alexandria and a member of the church's local layman council, known as el-Maglis el-Melly."Pope Shenouda assumed the throne of St Mark eight months after the death of his predecessor," he said. Thousands of Copts crush into cathedral after pope's death By Samer al-Atrush (AFP) CAIRO — The bells tolled on Saturday as tearful Christians crushed past the Cairo cathedral's gate hours after Pope Shenuda III's death, to get a glimpse of the man they called "father" in an uncertain time for the Egyptian minority. Within an hour of the announcement of his death, traffic was jammed for kilometres leading to the St Mark's Cathedral, where the spiritual leader of the region's largest Christian minority was based. The Copts, increasingly tight-knit in the face of assertive Islamists, displayed the crosses many have had tattooed on their wrists to get inside the church grounds and to the steps of Shenuda's offices, where they were told the pope's body lay waiting for the funeral. "We love you, Father," they chanted, hoping for a final glimpse of the pontiff who led their community since 1971. "The pope is wise, he was the father every young man, woman, widows and the orphaned," said Emil Essam, 28, his eyes red from sobbing. "We have had many crises, and he gave us wisdom throughout all of them. He prayed for us throughout our oppression," he said, turning his back to Shenuda's offices to face east to pray. The men and women chanted a mournful hymn in the ancient Coptic language and Arabic. "They're saying: 'God please save us, oh Jesus," said Isaac Zakaria, an 18-year-old university student. "He was like my father. He was wise, and very open-minded. There will be no one like him in the future," he said. Outside, policemen stood guard with sniffer dogs to detect explosives, a reminder of the dangers faced by the ever more beleaguered Christians in the Muslim majority country. Shenuda had come under unprecedented criticism by his flock after a suicide bombing killed more than 20 churchgoers in January 2011, weeks before a popular uprising ousted president Hosni Mubarak. He risked some of his credibility by supporting the increasingly unpopular dictator, and with his calls to turn the other cheek despite increasing sectarian attacks. Years earlier, the pope had been placed under house arrest by Mubarak's predecessor Anwar Sadat, who Shenuda denounced for courting Islamists. But Mubarak, the Coptic Church believed, acted as a bulwark against the fundamentalists who questioned the Christians' equality in Egypt. Misgivings about Shenuda's positions were overshadowed by a series of deadly blows against the Christians after the uprising that overthrew Mubarak. Those attacks culminated in a bloody clash in October with soldiers that left at least 20 Coptic protesters dead. They had been protesting against an earlier attack on a church in southern Egypt. On Saturday, the mourners said Shenuda had helped unite the country. "He was a patriot, first and foremost," said Osama Gamal.


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