Eyewitness accounts: Duisburg stampede

A man comforts a woman at the Duisburg music festival
Image caption Many survivors said they were lucky to escape

Eyewitnesses and emergency workers have been recalling the deadly stampede at an entrance tunnel at the Love Parade music festival in the German city of Duisburg.

RICHARD MORLEY

I was close to the entrance of the tunnel and what struck me was the robotic attitude of the security guards. People had travelled far to come to the festival. When the security stopped letting people in, they started pushing, so there was lots of pressure and screaming. I saw people going blue in the face. I was arguing with a guard to let the people in, but no amount of persuasion and reason could get through. It was a horrific display of mismanagement and stupidity. I'm depressed beyond belief.

ALAN DONALDSON

Image caption This was the "first and last" time that Alan Donaldson went to the Love Parade

This was a nightmare. I saw one girl they were trying to resuscitate and she had broken legs. Her boyfriend was near her but there was nothing he could do. They put a cover over her in the end. This is the first time I have seen people die. Someone needs to go for jail for this because people died for absolutely nothing. The moment I got there, I knew it was going to be a nightmare because there were too many people and the area was way too small. I lost my friends during the night but thankfully they're all safe.

SALIL BHATE

I'm on holiday and decided to go to the Love Parade spontaneously. The stampede reminded me of a heavy metal concert, only here, there was nobody to help. The number of people that I saw lying on the floor was ridiculous. They had stamp marks on their faces. It wasn't until I saw people being resuscitated that I understood how serious this was. I don't even know if they were alive or dead. Simply unbelievable: the police and security personnel were more concerned with keeping people away from the edges, rather than helping them.

DR PETER-MICHAEL HAX

We had one very tragic case [here at Duisburg's BGU hospital]. A young girl from Italy was brought here, very disorientated, she said she had been momentarily unconscious, but was otherwise only slightly injured. She had lost all her hair and was missing her friend. She was here only for a short time to get looked after, and then she just waited here to be transferred to her hotel in Oberhausen. While waiting here, she was informed by the police that her missing friend had indeed died in the stampede.

KARL LOWENSTEIN

It was hell. The tunnel was dark, it was full. Something happened - whether someone tripped or someone fell I don't know. But there was a stampede to get to the other end and those who fell… well, many of them never got up again.

KEVIN KRAUSGARTNER

I have never seen anything like it. I saw 25 people piled on top of one another, a huge heap. I cried.

The people couldn't get any air. I saw the dead there. One person was completely pale and I wanted to give him some water but a medic said that wouldn't help him - he was already gone.

I saw police on the bridge just standing there and they didn't do anything.

ALEX DUEBEN

Image caption Daniel Naupold sent a picture of the crowd around the tunnel

I was standing between the two bridges and saw that more and more people kept coming through. They walked into each other and tried to run up stairs and to climb up a flood defence. It was an absolute panic situation. Nothing went forwards, nothing went backwards. We couldn't do anything.

It was quite mixed. There were some who were quite hysterical and were crying. There were some who helped, who offered to help but the majority were just helpless and stood in the crowds. They couldn't do much.

UDO SANDHOEFER

At some point the column [of people] got stuck, probably because everything was closed up front, and we saw that the first people were already lying on the ground.

Others climbed up the walls and tried somehow to get into the grounds from the side, and the people in the crowd that moved up simply ran over those who were lying on the ground.

UNNAMED FEMALE PARTICIPANT

I was lucky. I found a hole to escape through but two women were killed right next to me.

UNIDENTIFIED YOUNG MAN

Both my legs were trapped - then, thank God, somebody helped me up, then I helped another up... and then, kind of by luck, we were pushed back out of the crowd.

UNNAMED FESTIVAL-GOER FROM DUISBURG

Nothing was possible, no mobile phones, the networks were overloaded. Nothing worked. My family is just happy that I returned home in one piece, because they were worried. They all phoned me later. I just found it all very bad.

And I cannot understand that there was only this one way through which we were let into and let out of. That it turned to panic in a situation like this is fully expected.

'FABIO'

We were standing in the middle of it. More and more people were trying to get to the grounds.

We were almost through the tunnel and were standing at the entrance, but [the crowd] went no further. We went back through the tunnel, and my girlfriend and I could scarcely breathe. We had to use our elbows to get through. We told the police that it would soon come to a mass panic.

That was around 45 minutes before the accident. There were already people pushed together in rows.

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