Love Parade disaster

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Love Parade disaster
Übersichtskarte Loveparade Duisburg 2010.jpg
Map of the Love Parade in Duisburg
Date 24 July 2010 (2010-07-24)
Location Duisburg, Germany
Deaths 21
Injuries 510

On 24 July 2010, a crowd disaster at the 2010 Love Parade electronic dance music festival in Duisburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, caused the death of 21 people from suffocation.[1] At least 510 more were injured.[2]

The Love Parade was a popular and free-access festival and parade that originated in 1989 in Berlin. The parade featured stages, but had floats with music, DJs and dancers moving through the audience. The Love Parade in Duisburg was the first edition of the festival that was organised in a closed-off area.[3] Between 200,000 and 1.4 million people were reported to be attending the event and 3,200 police were on hand.[4]

With the slogan "The Art of Love", the event was one of the program elements of RUHR.2010, an effort to highlight cultural events in the Ruhr area, one of 2010's European Capitals of Culture.[5]

Incident[edit]

The involved ramp an hour and a half before the disaster occurred
A 2008 photograph of the tunnel that leads to the site of the disaster

The festival was staged on the area of a former freight station. The capacity of the enclosed location was limited to 250,000 people,[6] but more than one million visitors were expected, based on the experience of previous years.

Entrance should have been granted at 11:00, but was granted at 12:00 CEST (10:00 UTC).[7]A 240-metre tunnel from the east and a series of underpasses from the west met at a ramp that was supposed to be the only entrance and exit point of the festival area.[8] A smaller ramp existed between the underpasses from the west. Because of overcrowding, police at the entrance began announcing over loudspeakers that new arrivals should turn around and head back.[9][10] The side of the tunnel that was the entry of the parade area was closed, but people continued to enter the tunnel from the rear, despite being told it was closed. The deaths occurred as the ramp between tunnel underpasses and the festival area became overcrowded.[11][12]

There was some debate as to how the deaths occurred. Some reports suggested they were caused by people falling off a staircase as they tried to escape the tunnel.[13] However, autopsies showed that all of the fatalities were due to crushed rib cages.[13][14] A 2012 scientific analysis of the causes of the disaster dismissed the earlier descriptions of the incident as stampede or crowd panic, and instead found evidence for a phenomenon called "crowd turbulence".[1]

Lopavent GmbH, the organiser of the Love Parade, released a film,[15] depicting an explanation of the events. The film is based on CCTV recordings, explanatory animations, documents, press reports and eyewitness accounts released by the organiser.[16][17]

Fatalities[edit]

A total of 21 people died, 13 women and eight men, aged between 18 and 38 years. 14 were reported to be Germans, 7 men and 7 women. Among the seven casualties of other nationalities were two Spanish women aged 21 and 22 years, a 38-year-old Chinese woman living in Germany,[18] a 22-year-old man from the Netherlands,[19] a 21-year-old woman from Italy,[20] a 21-year-old woman from Bosnia-Herzegovina, and a 27-year-old woman from Australia.[21][22] Fifteen died at the site, six died in hospital.

Eyewitness accounts[edit]

The atmosphere was explosive. Many in the crowd seemed to be intoxicated. When people started falling off the stairs and pulling others with them, it became just chaotic. They just couldn't be stopped. It was a living hell.

—Eyewitness police officer[23]

I will never forget the sight. There were all these twisted-up bodies of those who had been crushed. They were lying at the tunnel exit. Their faces had all turned blue.

—Eyewitness woman trapped in tunnel[23]

Newspaper eyewitness headlines[edit]

Bruce Cullen of Parker, Colorado and founder of Trance Elements, a LoveParade artist/performer on float number 7 - "The Ship of Fools", is cited in The Denver Post as mentioning that he and other performers were concerned before the event that there would be problems, stating "we all said it seems like this is not going to work". Although Cullen did not witness the actual event, he stated: "These guys didn't have this planned out right", "They didn't have enough police at the entrances in that tunnel. I am just really upset because people died. Everybody was there to have fun".[24]

Aftermath[edit]

Candles near where the disaster took place

Police chose not to close down the event, fearing that doing so could spark another panic.[9] Nearby motorway A59, which was closed during the whole Love Parade, functioned as an access route for emergency services.[25]

During a press conference on 25 July, organiser Rainer Schaller stated that there would never again be another Love Parade, out of respect for those who lost their lives. "The Love Parade has always been a joyful and peaceful party, but in future would always be overshadowed by yesterday's events" he stated.[26][27]

A local resident published internal documents of the city administration regarding the planning of Love Parade. The city government reacted by securing a court order on 16 August forcing the removal of the documents from the site on which it was hosted.[28] On 20 August 2010, WikiLeaks released a publication entitled Loveparade 2010 Duisburg planning documents, 2007–2010, which comprised 43 internal documents regarding the Love Parade 2010, from the Duisburg police, contractors at the parade and other parties involved from 2007–2010.[29][30]

The German police and State's Attorney (Staatsanwaltschaft) have opened an official criminal investigation.[27] The Duisburg prosecutors office is investigating negligent homicide, but as of July 2010 they have not named who their investigation targets are.[31]

Reactions[edit]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel quickly issued a statement that she was "aghast and saddened by the sorrow and the pain".[4] German President Christian Wulff also expressed his condolences for the victims of the tragedy that had "caused death, sorrow and pain amidst a peaceful festival of cheerful young people from many countries. ... My thoughts are with the victims of the tragedy and with all their family and friends".[32]

Assigning the blame[edit]

None of the involved organizations or officials took the blame for the disaster by 29 July. Instead, the involved parties issued several statements accusing each other in a circular manner:

On 26 July, Rainer Schaller, organiser of the festival, accused the police of mistakes in crowd control, which he claims led to the disaster.[33]

On 28 July, the interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia rejected this and assigned all the blame to Schaller, his company Lopavent, their security concept and the festival personnel.[34]

On 29 July, several hundred people rallied at Duisburg's city hall, demanding the resignation of the mayor, Adolf Sauerland, depicting him at the gallows. The protesters claimed that Sauerland had been aware of sub-standard security provisions for the festival, but pushed his administration to approve the plans nonetheless. Sauerland however rejected the claims and repeatedly expressed that he would not resign.[35] According to local trade union ver.di, members of all parts of the urban administration of Duisburg have been threatened (sanitation workers, call center agents). Traffic warden were not sent out at all for security reasons.[36]

On 14 August it became known that Sauerland admitted to deceiving the public about the expected number of visitors at the event. The "several million people" he had been referring to prior to the parade were only "pushed numbers" for media attention in accordance with the organiser of the event. The organiser and the administration had also claimed 1.4 million visitors on the day the disaster occurred but it turned out that the area, which had been approved for 250,000, was apparently not even filled at the time. Due to threats on his life, Sauerland was under police protection at that time.[37]

After the Duisburg city council failed to reach a 2/3-majority to trigger an impeachment against Lord Mayor Adolf Sauerland (his CDU refused to vote against him) on 13 September, the state government announced changes[clarification needed] to the municipal code of North-Rhine-Westphalia.[citation needed] Interior secretary Ralf Jäger was responsible for both this reform and the police in North-Rhine-Westphalia, at the same time he is leader of the Duisburg Social Democrats.[citation needed]

Sauerland was removed from office through a recall election on 12 February 2012.[38]

Pop culture[edit]

The incident is directly referred to with footage in the 2011 documentary Life in a Day. In 2010 a song titled Remember Love was produced by Paul Van Dyk, Paul Oakenfold, and Armin Van Buuren with the proceeds going to the families of the victims of the disaster.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://www.epjdatascience.com/content/1/1/7/abstract D. Helbing and P. Mukerji, Crowd disasters as systemic failures: Analysis of the Love Parade Disaster. EPJ Data Science 1:7 (2012), {{Doi:10.1140/epjds7}}
  2. ^ "Veranstalter gibt Polizei Schuld an Eskalation". Der Spiegel (in German). 26 July 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  3. ^ Tragisches Ende der Techno-Party by Online Focus(German)
  4. ^ a b "Nineteen Dead In German Festival Horror". Yahoo! News. 25 July 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2010. 
  5. ^ "Loveparade: "The Art of Love" brings electrifying beats to Duisburg". Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  6. ^ "Rede von Minister für Inneres und Kommunales Ralf Jäger" (in German). 
  7. ^ "Chronik einer Katastrophe - die Loveparade-Funksprüche". WAZ. 20 July 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2013. (German)
  8. ^ Catastrophe point: 25 metre long mouth of the Karl-Lehr-Strassen Tunnel(German) underpass area with Ostrampe (east-ramp) especially around the small stairs (sight walk - 3 days after, by WDR Fernsehen)(German); see also video at 17:00 o'clock.
  9. ^ a b "Stampede at German Love Parade festival kills 19". BBC News. 24 July 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2010. 
  10. ^ "19 killed in stampede at Love Parade street party". France 24. 24 July 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2010. 
  11. ^ Sohn, Michael; Gera, Vanessa (24 July 2010). "18 killed in mass panic at Germany's Love Parade". The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 July 2010. 
  12. ^ interview: crowd manager Carsten Walter (German)
  13. ^ a b "Germany Love Parade victims were crushed to death". NDTV. 28 July 2010. 
  14. ^ "Heftige Vorwürfe gegen Veranstalter der Loveparade". Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). 28 July 2010. 
  15. ^ "Documentation LoveParade Imprint". LoveParade Team. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  16. ^ "Documentation LoveParade 24.7.2010". LoveParade Team. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  17. ^ Videos – Timeline (Zeitstrahl) Dokumentation der Ereignisse zur Loveparade 2010 in Duisburg (German)
  18. ^ "Chinese consulate-general confirms one female citizen killed in German stampede". Xinhua. 25 July 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  19. ^ "Nederlander (22) overleden bij Loveparade" (in Dutch). NU.nl. 25 July 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  20. ^ "Love Parade, sono 19 le vittime della ressa Morta una ragazza italiana, un'altra è ferita". la Repubblica (in Italian). Italy. 25 July 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  21. ^ http://www.thelocal.de/national/20100726-28745.html
  22. ^ Williams, Philip (25 July 2010). "Australian killed in German music festival stampede". ABC News Online. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  23. ^ a b Paterson, Tony (26 July 2010). "Love Parade tragedy: 'I'll never forget the sight of all those twisted bodies'". The Independent. UK. 
  24. ^ Black, Jeff (26 July 2010). "German police investigate fatal stampede at music festival". Denver Post. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  25. ^ "18 killed amid panic at Germany's 'Love Parade'". CNN. 25 July 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  26. ^ "Germany's Love Parade discontinued out of respect". BBC News. 25 July 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  27. ^ a b "21-Jähriger aus Niedersachsen unter Toten der Loveparade". Hamburger Abendblatt (in German). 25 July 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  28. ^ Lischka, Konrad (18 August 2010). "Einstweilige Verfügung – Duisburg verbietet Blogger-Veröffentlichung zur Love Parade". Der Spiegel (in German) (Hamburg). 
  29. ^ "Loveparade 2010 Duisburg planning documents, 2007–2010". Mirror.wikileaks.info. 20 August 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2010. 
  30. ^ "WikiLeaks releases documents on Love Parade tragedy". news.com.au Technology (Sydney). NewsCore. 21 August 2010. 
  31. ^ Kaeckenhoff, Tom (25 July 2010). "Prosecutors launch probe into 19 Love Parade deaths". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  32. ^ Levitz, David; Connor, Richard (25 July 2010). "At least 19 trampled to death at Germany's Loveparade". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  33. ^ "Loveparade-Chef: Verhängnisvolle Polizei-Anweisung" (in German). Kölner Express. 26 July 2010. 
  34. ^ "Das Konzept des Veranstalters hat versagt" (in German). Tagesschau. 28 July 2010. 
  35. ^ "Zorniger Protest gegen Oberbürgermeister" (in German). WDR. 29 July 2010. 
  36. ^ http://www.derwesten.de/staedte/duisburg/Mitarbeiter-der-Stadt-Duisburg-werden-angefeindet-id3319267.html
  37. ^ dpa (14 August 2010). "Bürgermeister Sauerland gibt bewuste Täuschung zu (lit.: Mayor Sauerland admits deliberate deception)". Hamburger Abendblatt (in German). Retrieved 14 August 2010. "Die „mehreren Millionen“ erwarteter Besucher, von denen er selbst vor der Technoparade gesprochen hatte, seien „nur gepushte Zahlen“ gewesen. Auf Wunsch des Veranstalters habe die Stadt Duisburg bei der Marketinglüge mitgemacht. Stadt und Veranstalter hatten am Unglückstag (24. Juli) von 1,4 Millionen Besuchern gesprochen. Das Gelände ist nur für 250000 Besucher zugelassen, war aber offenbar nicht ganz voll. Der Oberbürgermeister, der unter Polizeischutz steht, sagte dem Nachrichtenmagazin, er fühle sich nach mehreren Morddrohungen als „Getriebener“." 
  38. ^ ap (12 February 2012). "German city ousts mayor criticized over parade". Herald Online (in German). Retrieved 13 February 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°25′13.5″N 6°46′20.5″E / 51.420417°N 6.772361°E / 51.420417; 6.772361