A stampede at a music venue in Italy has tragically left six individuals dead, five teenagers between the ages of 14-16 and a 39-year-old woman, as well as 59 injured with 13 in serious condition.
The stampede occurred at the Lanterna Azzurra (Blue Lantern) in the town of Corinaldo as rapper Sfera Ebbasta was set to take the stage. Ebbasta was scheduled to perform at 1:30a, and the stampede reportedly began some time around 1a.
Lanterna Azzurra had a maximum legal capacity of around 870, though 1,400 tickets to the event were reportedly sold, likely contributing to the cramped conditions and eventual fatal stampede.
According to some in attendance, there might have been some sort of “irritant” sprayed into the crowd or an odd smell that incited worry and caused people to panic and rush for the exits. Investigators are still looking into similar accounts from survivors.
#Corinaldo (AN) #8dic 1:00, squadre #vigilidelfuoco impegnate nel soccorso in una discoteca. Forse per la dispersione di una sostanza urticante, ragazzi fuggono per il panico calpestandosi. Sei purtroppo quelli deceduti, decine feriti pic.twitter.com/NvII0jD7oe
— Vigili del Fuoco (@emergenzavvf) December 8, 2018
Italy’s head of state, President Sergio Mattarella, demanded “full light be shone on what happened, ascertaining any responsibility and negligence.”
“Citizens have the right to safety wherever they are, in workplaces as well as places of entertainment,” Mattarella said in a statement. “Safety must be assured with special commitment in places where crowds gather, through rigorous inspection and checks. One cannot die this way.”
According to TIME, “Fire commander Poggiali said it was too early in the investigation to know if any safety violations might have played a role. He said that when rescuers arrived, all the doors were open.”
The dead have been identified as Asia Nasoni, 14; Daniele Pongetti, 16; Benedetta Vitali, 15; Mattia Orlandi, 15; Emma Fabini, 14; and Eleonora Girolimini, 39.
Sfera Ebbasta issued a statement on Instagram, announcing that he would be cancelling shows and commitments previously scheduled for the next few days out of respect for the victims.
I am deeply saddened by what happened yesterday evening in Corinaldo. It is difficult to find the right words to express the regret and pain of these tragedies. I do not want to comment on those responsible for all this, I just want everyone to stop and think about how dangerous and stupid it can be to use pepper spray in a disco. Thanks to all the people, the ambulances and the forces of the order who have helped during the night. As little as it can serve, my affection and my support go to the families of the victims and those of the injured and just out of respect for the latter all the promotional commitments and the instories [sic] of the next days will be canceled. Music should be a structuring that unites people, we hope that it really becomes.