World

Six dead in Italian nightclub stampede

By AAP Newswire

A stampede of panicked concertgoers, many of them teenagers, at a disco on Italy's central Adriatic coast has killed six people, all but one of them minors, and injured some 50 others, authorities say.

The dead included three girls and two boys and a mother who had accompanied her daughter to the disco in Corinaldo, near Ancona, where a rapper was set to perform, Ancona Police Chief Oreste Capocasa said.

The stampede happened early on Saturday and the bodies of the trampled victims were all found near a low wall inside the disco, Ancona Firefighters Commander Dino Poggiali told Sky TG24 News.

Asked about survivors' accounts that at least one emergency exit door was blocked or didn't work, 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 of the discos were open.

Poggiali said he didn't have any immediate confirmation from survivors that the use of an irritating spray, like pepper spray, had set off the panic.

Fourteen of the injured were in serious condition, and some 40 others less seriously injured, Poggiali said.

Some of those with minor injuries were treated and released from a hospital, he said.

Firefighters had concentrated on giving first aid to survivors, stretched out on the road outside the club, before starting their investigation, Poggiali said.

The Italian news agency ANSA said the audience at Italian rapper Sfera Ebbasta's concert at the Lanterna Azzurra nightclub panicked and ran for the exits after someone sprayed a substance similar to pepper spray.

"It was a mess. The bouncers were getting the persons out," one unidentified witness told RAI state radio. "I went out the main door. People fell, one after the other, on top of each other. Absurd."

A 16-year-old boy told ANSA that disco patrons were dancing while awaiting the start of the concert when the stampede erupted.

The boy, who was being treated at a hospital, said that at least one of the emergency exits was locked when he tried to flee.

Authorities didn't immediately say how old the victims were, but RAI state radio said the deceased mother was 40, and that about 1000 people were inside when the stampede began.