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Three dead after panic struck at Steve Aoki's performance

00:00 Nov/30/1999

After getting a neck injury stage diving into a trampoline, Steve Aoki jumped back in the sattle to do a show in Spain, Thriller Music Park event at Madrid Arena. Tragedy struck, when a stampeding crowd left three women dead and two in critical condition. The Halloween concert headlined Steve Aoki and Audioerotique. The capacity reported to be 10,800 people. According to some sources, the capacity was two times that much. The promoters of the event deny this in an official statement.

The statement expresses condolences for the loss of life, as well as details about the apparent cause.  “The triggering of events was apparently launched by an assistant flaming a flare in one of nine vomitory access, not on Centre Court,” the statement reads (albeit in awkward English). “This action caused panic and isolation in this part of the venue.” According to the promoter, the Madrid Arena was not filled beyond allowed capacity, saying, in part, “The capacity certified by the foreign company access control was below the required capacity for this event.” However, some witnesses who were trapped in the bottleneck formed in one of the exits has commented:"There was a human bottleneck at the only exit, because all the others were closed, sealed." According to a story in El Pais the people were trapped in the bottleneck for 30 minutes in the most horrible conditions, before other exits were opened. There's not much to do in hindsight but to pay respect to those harmed by this disaster. That's what Steve Aoki immediatly did.

Currently, Steve Aoki’s webpage is down due to the traffic caused by this misfortunate event. He issued the following statement regarding the tragedy in Madrid: “After my performance last night at Thriller Music Park at the Madrid Arena in Spain, I was devastated to hear that three people had died during a crowd rush at one of the exits.  The safety of my fans has always been my top priority and had I known that there was any distress putting people in jeopardy within the venue I would have ended my show immediately.  My show in Bilbao, Spain tonight will be cancelled out of respect for those who lost their lives and those who are injured. I would like to express my deepest condolences and heart felt prayers to the families and loved ones during this difficult time.”

The panic caused by the flare started the crowds incontrollable movement thowards an exit, which bottlenecked the mass of people. El Pais wrote, that the injuries were caused by the ’trauma by crushing, possibly having suffered a fall and being trampled.’ A witness told to El Pais:“I was in the middle of the crowd that was forming. It was unimaginable because you couldn’t go forward or try to go back; there were too many people pushing. It was like that for about a half hour.”

This wasn’t the first time for this kind of tragedy, as 11 fans were killed at a Who concert in 1979 and 9 died during Pearl Jam concert at the Roskilde Festival. In 2010 an overwhelmed crowd in Germany’s Love Parade trampled 21 people to death. This goes to show, that event promoters and venue owners should find a way to ensure safety even in a case where panic erupts. There must be some kind of possibilities to avoid these kind of tragedies. We give our condolences to the grieving families.


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