Archive for July, 2010

Love Parade Tragedy

Posted in accidents, love, music, party, subculture on 25/07/2010 by Walter

Loveparade Berlin 2006, 15th July

Duisburg 2010, in the Tunnel of Death

German officials confirmed on Sunday that 19 people died and 342 were injured during the mass panic that turned Saturday’s Love Parade in Duisburg into a tragedy. Prosecutors have launched an investigation, with initial questions focusing on the organizers’ crowd control strategy.

In 1989, the Love Parade started in Berlin as a peace demonstration. On Saturday, the festival, held in Germany’s industrial Ruhr region since 2007, ended in disaster in Duisburg when a mass panic resulted in the deaths of 19 partygoers. A further 340 were injured in the stampede.

The deaths took place as partygoers were pushing through a highway underpass leading to the festival grounds, the only entrance to the party for the 1.4 million people in attendance. According to some accounts, organizers at one point closed the entrance to the party venue, a former freight train station, for an hour but did not prevent more people from streaming into the tunnel. The resulting crush of people fueled both tempers and the resulting panic.

According to a police spokesman on Sunday, most of the deaths occurred when revellers broke through a barricade and began climbing up a steep staircase near the tunnel entrance in an effort to gain access to the party grounds. Many of them fell off, which triggered a panic in the masses down below.

An eyewitness told the German news channel n-tv that the tunnel had acted like a trap. “There were people lying on the ground everywhere,” he said. “It was how I imagine war would look.” He said that the advancing crowd had run over people lying on the ground and described the situation as “real mass panic.”

The organizer of this year’s party was Rainer Schaller, also the head of the McFit fitness gym chain, which was the event’s primary sponsor. On Saturday, he promised that “we will do everything in our power to ensure a complete and speedy investigation of this tragedy.”

On Sunday, he said that there will be no more Love Parades in the future.

The original Love Parade grew out of a 1989 peace demonstration and eventually became one of Berlin’s calling cards, attracting 1.5 million people in 1999. But the city eventually became disenchanted with the event — a disagreement about who was responsible for paying the security and police bill ultimately spelled the end of the annual event in the German capital.

Revellers enjoy electronic music during the Love Parade "The art of Love" in the western German city of Duisburg July 24, 2010. The biggest party in the world gets started when the loudspeakers on the 16 floats flooded the former freight depot with the beats and bass of the new anthem "The Art of Love". REUTERS/Kirsten Neumann