Germany’s prosecutors opened investigations into the cause of the ill-fated music festival amid allegations from survivors and eyewitnesses that lax security measures and poor organisation led to the tragedy.
The death toll in a tragic stampede at the world’s largest techno music festival in Germany rose to 20, with a 21-year-old woman succumbing to her injuries last night, as police investigated the incident to pin the blame on those responsible.
The stampede hit the revellers at the German city of Duisburg on Saturday when a large number of people were caught in a tunnel leading up to the festival venue and many were crushed to death in the ensuing chaos.
While 19 people were killed that day, a German woman died last night.
Police said all the victims of the tragedy have been identified. While 12 of them are German, the others belonged to China, Australia, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Bosnia Herzegovina.
The victims are aged between 20 and 40 years of age.
The number of injured was raised to 512 yesterday, but none of them are in a serious condition, police said.
Meanwhile, Germany’s prosecutors opened investigations into the cause of the ill-fated music festival amid allegations from survivors and eyewitnesses that lax security measures and poor organisation led to the tragedy.
A spokesman for the prosecutors’ office in Duisburg said preliminary investigations are not directed against any persons and they are initially focusing on who should be held responsible for the disaster.
Investigators yesterday raided offices of the organisers and confiscated documents.
On the basis of their findings, charges of negligent homicide will be issued, the spokesman said.
Rainer Schaller, who started the Love Parade as a “festival or peace and love” in Berlin 21-years ago, and organised it as one of its main sponsors, said the ill-fated event in Duisburg was the last Love Parade and he will not organise it any longer.
Media reports said the festival venue, a former goods train station near Duisburg’s railway station, had a capacity to accommodate about 250,000 people, but four times more visitors were allowed in.
Moreover, the venue had only one access route, a 300-metre tunnel, which was used both by those coming in as well as by those leaving the festival and it was in this tunnel that most of the victims were crushed to death.
The disaster occurred apparently after the organisers closed the entrance to the overcrowded festival grounds on one side of the tunnel shortly after 5 pm local time while thousands of fans waited impatiently in the tunnel.
The situation there became chaotic as the festival—goers leaving the venue tried to push their way through the fully-packed tunnel.
Eyewitnesses said panic broke out as a number of people scrambled to escape through an emergency stairway opened by the police and by climbing a wall and some of them fell down and were crushed in the stampede.
A newspaper reported that the Mayor of Duisburg Adolf Sauerland, one of the organisers, had ignored warnings that the venue was too small for such a huge music festival, which attracted over a million visitors in other German cities in the past years, and security arrangements for the event were lax.
The newspaper also said that the city authorities issued the permission to hold the Love Parade only a few hours before its opening at 2 pm local time, which is very unusual for such an event.