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19 killed, 342 injured in German music festival stampede

07-25-2010 14:44 BJT

DUISBURG, Germany, July 25 (Xinhua) -- The death toll of Saturday's stampede at a rave music festival in western German city of Duisburg has risen to 19, with 342 people injured, police told Xinhua Sunday morning.

Rescuers work at the scene after a stampede inside a tunnel during the Love Parade techno music festival in Duisburg, western Germany, on July 24, 2010. Nine women and six men have been confirmed dead in the stampede in an entrance tunnel on the way to the event site, and more than 100 people were injured, 45 of them seriously, Duisburg police said.(Xinhua Photo)
Rescuers work at the scene after a stampede inside a tunnel during the Love Parade 
techno music festival in Duisburg, western Germany, on July 24, 2010. Nine women and
six men have been confirmed dead in the stampede in an entrance tunnel on the way to
the event site, and more than 100 people were injured, 45 of them seriously, Duisburg
police said.(Xinhua Photo)

A news conference was scheduled at the city hall at noon to give more details of the tragedy, which has shocked German politicians including President Christian Wulff and Chancellor Angela Merkel, said a spokesman from the local police.

Most of the 1.4 million people who attended the Love Parade, one of the largest techno music events in Europe, have returned home without further incidents over the night, the spokesman told Xinhua.

The downtown area near the festival site looks like a deserted battlefield with papers and empty beer bottles littering all over.

Fences have been erected to block a large area around the freight yard where the festival was held as well as a nearby tunnel where the stampede occurred. Journalists are allowed to access the scene from 8:30 a.m. Sunday with police escort, the spokesman said.

The stampede took place shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday as people were jostling with each other in an entrance tunnel and an overcrowded area adjacent to the event's main stage.

A local nurse told Xinhua she had been trying to enter the festival ground since as early as 11 a.m. Saturday. But she failed to get inside. "It's ridiculous to have just one entrance for an event of over one million people," she said.

Local officials, however, said that safety measures were solid but there were individuals who ignored the rules. The tragedy was reportedly triggered by people who fell onto the ground when trying to climb up emergency steps near the tunnel to escape the crowd.

Hours after the stampede, Xinhua reporters still saw groups of people dancing to deafening music near the Duisburg central railway station. There are also people coming to the tunnel to mourn the victims.

President Wulff has demanded "uncompromising" investigation into the deadly tragedy while Chancellor Merkel also expressed shock.

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