A stampede at a rap concert in an overcrowded Italian disco killed five teenagers early Saturday (Dec. 8) along with a woman who had brought her young daughter to the event, authorities said. Fifty-three people were reported injured, including 13 in very serious condition.
Video broadcast on Italian state TV RaiNews24 showed scores of teenagers rushing out of a door and surging toward a low wall near an exit of the Blue Lantern disco in the central Italian town of Corinaldo, near Ancona on the Adriatic coast. The barrier then appeared to give way and a cascade of teenagers tumbled 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.
The dead teenagers’ ages ranged from 14 to 16 and the mother who was killed was 39, said Col. Cristian Carrozza, commander of the Ancona province Carabinieri paramilitary police.
The dead woman had accompanied her eight-year-old daughter to the concert and was the mother of four children, Italian daily Il Messaggero reported.
The stampede left 53 people injured, with 13 of them in very serious condition, an Ancona interior ministry official said.
Italian rapper Sfera Ebbasta, who is popular with young teenagers, was to perform at the venue. Authorities said the organizers had sold far too many tickets for the space utilized.
Ancona Chief Prosecutor Monica Garulli told reporters at the scene that about 1,400 tickets were sold but the disco has the capacity to hold only about 870 people.
Later, Premier Giuseppe Conte, who visited the scene of the tragedy, said the disco had three rooms but inexplicably only used one of them, with a capacity of 469 people, for the concert.
While prosecutors investigate, “the government must ask itself what to so that such tragedies must never happen again,” Conte told reporters.
The stampede occurred shortly after 1 a.m., less than 30 minutes before the concert was to start.
Italian media quoted concertgoers as saying that someone had sprayed an irritant, which triggered the panic. Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said there apparently was a “stink” of some irritating substance.
Ancona Police Chief Oreste Capocasa said the dead teenagers were three girls and two boys, the Italian news agency ANSA said. State radio said most of the dead had their skulls crushed in the melee.
Doctors at Ancona’s main hospital said the most critically injured, all between 14 and 20 years old, had suffered cranial and chest traumas, while others had injuries on their arms or legs.