The Falls Festival in Australia will continue despite a horrific stampede that left some 80 people injured, of whom 20 were taken to hospital for treatment, local media report.
The incident at the event in Lorne on the southwest coast of the state Victoria occurred at about 11:00pm on Friday night as festival-goers were trying to leave a performance by Australian rock band DMA to watch London Grammar at another part of the site.
In the wake of the stampede, 13 women and six men were taken to the hospital, while about 60 were treated at the site. All of the hospital patients are young people in their late teens to late 20s. Their injuries include leg, rib, hip, and pelvic fractures, possible spinal injuries, head and facial injuries, as well as cuts and abrasions, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
None of the injuries are life-threatening, police said in a statement.
State health commander Paul Holman said that the situation could have turned out much worse.
“It was quite a chaotic scene and required a major response… While the injuries are significant, this could have been quite a tragedy and we are grateful that the outcome was not worse,” he said, as quoted by AAP news agency.
People injured in the stampede described being crushed, left gasping for air, and losing consciousness as they were pressed on by the crowd.
“My legs were crushed, I thought they were broken. I couldn’t feel my legs,” Olivia Jones, 19, who was trapped at the bottom of the crowd, told ABC.
“I was under there for about three minutes, just gasping for air, and I eventually passed out and was dragged out and slapped in the face a few times to be woken up,” she added.
“After DMA’s, there was a huge rush of people coming out, and he got trampled, everyone was pushing people out – it was bad,” Adam Dean, another festival-goer, told AAP, describing how one of his friends had had his legs “scratched up massively” when the crowd dragged him for about 10 meters (33 feet) over gravel with “everyone trampling him.”
Some of the visitors questioned the number of exit points provided for the festival by the organizers, who promised that the arrangement would be modified for the remainder of the event.