Love Parade Disaster

Nineteen people were crushed to death on Saturday after a wave of panic swept through this year's Love Parade street party in the German city of Duisburg, north of Dusseldorf, police said.

Some were trampled to death, some crushed against the walls of a tunnel, Germany on Sunday mourned 19 people killed in a sudden stampede by thousands trying to get to a huge open air music festival.

Another 340 people were injured in the mass panic to get to the Love Parade dance party in the western city of Duisburg that drew about 1.4 million partygoers from across the world, according to a new mounting toll given by police.

On 24 July 2010, 20 people were killed during a human crush in Duisburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, at the Love Parade 2010 electronic music festival with the slogan "The Art of Love". At least another 511 people were injured. 1138 people are missing.

The Love Parade was a popular and free access electronic dance music festival and parade that originated in 1989 in Berlin. The parade features stages, but is well known for its floats with music, DJs and dancers moving through the audience. This was the first edition of the festival that was organised in a closed-off festival area. Up to 1.4 million people were reported to be attending the event and 1,200 police were on hand.

The event was one of the program elements of RUHR.2010, whereby cultural events in the Ruhr area are highlighted, because the Ruhr is this year's European Capital of Culture.

The event was staged in an old industrial railway station. The capacity of the enclosed location was limited to 500,000 people at most, but at least one million visitors were expected, based on the experience of previous years. Commentators in Der Westen, a local newspaper, had warned of impending disaster two days before the event.

Entrance was granted at 14:00 CEST (12:00 UTC). Between 100,000 and 200,000 people per hour entered the location through the 20 m wide tunnel. The 200 to 300 metre-long tunnel was the only entrance and exit point of the festival area. Around 16:00, just before the final act of the day was to begin, the tunnel became overcrowded and a panic occurred, after some hundred people broke through the safety lock at the western end of the tunnel.

The parade area reportedly had become overcrowded and police at the entrance began announcing over loudspeakers that new arrivals should turn around and head back. The side of the tunnel that was the entry of the parade area was closed, but people continued to enter the tunnel from the rear, despite being told it was closed. A stampede occurred as the tunnel became overcrowded.

Police had reported that 14 persons died when metal staircase fell on them near the entrance to the tunnel. Another two persons died on site when crushed to the wall by the crowd.

Overcrowding at the entrance tunnel to the "Love Parade" techno event has been blamed for the tragedy.

A police investigation is underway to establish exactly what happened.

At least half of the victims are believed to be young women who were trampled to death.

The festival, which police said drew 1.4 million people, was not immediately cancelled because authorities feared an abrupt halt could spark a second panic.

German prosecutors opened an investigation on Sunday into a stampede which killed 19 people and injured 342 at the Love Parade techno music festival in the western city of Duisburg.

“The Duisburg prosecutors office is investigating negligent homicide,” prosecutor Rolf Haferkamp told Reuters by telephone. “The investigation is aimed at persons unknown.”

Six foreigners, from Spain, Bosnia, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy and China, died in the stampede on Saturday when hordes of young people were pushing through a tunnel into the techno festival grounds at a former freight rail yard.