CORINALDO, Italy – Teenagers panicked before a rap concert at a jammed Italian disco, setting off a stampede that killed five of them and a mother who had brought her daughter to the event, authorities and survivors said. Fifty-three people were reported injured, including 13 in serious condition.
Several survivors said panic spread through the late-night crowd after someone unleashed an irritant spray. Investigators said they were checking those reports.
Video on state TV Rai-News24 showed teenagers rushing out a door and surging toward a low wall near an exit at the Blue Lantern disco in the central Italian town of Corinaldo, near Ancona on the Adriatic coast. The barrier then gives way and a cascade of teenagers tumble over it, falling on top of each other.
The bodies of the trampled victims were all found near a low wall, Ancona Firefighters Cmdr. Dino Poggiali told Sky TG24 News. State radio said most of the dead had their skulls crushed in the melee.
The victims – three girls and two boys – ranged in age from 14 to 16, and the mother who was killed was 39, said Col. Cristian Carrozza, commander of the Ancona province Carabinieri paramilitary police.
“Close down the place, convict someone. Who's going to give me back my son?” Giuseppe Orlandi, fighting back tears, told reporters after he had identified the body of his son, Mattia, 15.
The stampede occurred shortly after 1 a.m., less than 30 minutes before the concert by Italian rapper Sfera Ebbasta was to begin.
Authorities said organizers had sold far too many tickets for the space. Ancona Chief Prosecutor Monica Garulli told reporters that about 1,400 tickets were sold but the disco was only able to hold about 870 people.
Later, Premier Giuseppe Conte, who visited the scene, said the disco had three rooms but used only one for the concert, and it only holds 469 people.