A party at a nightclub in Caracas, Venezuela this weekend ended in tragedy as at least seventeen people were killed during a stampede within the club. According to the country’s interior minister, Néstor Reverol, who made a statement on Saturday, it all started when a fight broke out in the nightclub. Somehow, a tear-gas canister was set off during the brawl which caused the ensuing stampede as patrons rushed to exit.

Over 500 people were in the club when this all happened, as they all simultaneously rushed to the exit. Among the dead were eight minors. Many in the club were there to celebrate ahead of their graduation.

Seven people were arrested on suspicion of starting the brawl which led to the stampede; the club owner was also arrested on suspicion of “not checking patrons for weapons.”

This is not the first time that a mass casualty event has occurred in a nightclub in Caracas. The infamous La Guajira fire in 2002 resulted in the death of 50 people after a similar stampede.

According to the NY Times, “Blocking emergency doors or not building them is common in Latin America as a way to ensure customers do not leave without paying the bill.”


via NY Times