Europe

Three dead in Budapest West Balkan nightclub stampede

People are evacuated from the West Balkan club in Budapest, Hungary (16 Jan 2011)
Image caption Hundreds of people were evacuated from the club after the incident

Three women have been killed in a stampede at a nightclub in the Hungarian capital, Budapest.

Police said the women had been caught in a crush after mass panic broke out among the thousands of people in the three-storey West Balkan club.

The cause of the stampede is not yet clear, but officials have ruled out earlier reports that it was sparked by a knife attack in the club.

Witnesses said the club, in an old shopping centre, had been very crowded.

Medical officials are working to establish the cause of the women's deaths.

A spokesman for city's rescue services, Pal Gyorfi, told the Associated Press it was too early to say how the women died.

But police spokeswoman Katalin Fanni Horvath told AFP the women may have been trampled on by others trying to escape.

The building was evacuated after the incident and sealed off for investigations.

Hungarian media said police were looking into reports of overcrowding and whether there were enough suitable emergency exits.