During a concert in Italy over the weekend, a spray was released into the air, causing a stampede to break out, killing six fans and injuring over 50.
The concert, led by Italian rapper Sfera Ebbasta, took place Saturday night at the Blue Lantern disco in Corinaldo, Italy, near Ancona on the Adriatic coast. According to the Associated Press, survivors said an irritant spray was released into the air around 1 a.m., which led the crowd to panic. Teenagers began to rush out a door and toward a low wall near an exit. However, the barrier gave way and people began to fall and trip over one another.
TV RaiNews24 reported that bodies of the trampled victims were found near a low wall and most had their skulls crushed during the incident. Three girls and two boys – ranging from ages 14 to 16 – were killed, along with a 39-year-old mother who had brought her daughter to the show, Col. Cristian Carrozza, commander of the Ancona province Carabinieri paramilitary police, said.
The injuries ranged from arm and leg ailments to cranial and chest traumas, doctors at Ancona’s main hospital said. An 18-year-old survivor said that the irritant spray left herself and others unable to breathe, which caused some survivors to leave the venue with burns.
“I’m deeply saddened by what happened,” rapper Ebbasta said in an Instagram post. “I don’t want to pass judgment on who is responsible, but I would just like to ask everyone to stop and think how dangerous and stupid it can be to use pepper spray in a nightclub.”
While the Blue Lantern was only supposed to hold about 870 people, authorities said around 1,400 tickets were sold – far too many for the venue. The disco has three rooms, but only one was held for the concert, which only holds 469 people.
Italian President Sergio Mattarella demanded a full investigation, noting that “citizens have the right to safety wherever they are, in workplaces as well as places of entertainment.” At this time, the fire commander said it was too early to know if any safety violations at the site played a role in the tragedy. Premier Giuseppe Conte added that the event was “way overcrowded and alcohol abounded.”
“The government must ask itself what to [do] so that such tragedies must never happen again,” Conte said.