Festival death toll rises to 19




The death toll in a stampede at the annual Love Parade festival in Germany has risen to 19, police said today.

Mass panic turned fatal at a street party yesterday meant to celebrate love and peace. As well as the deaths, 342 people were injured.

Police and city authorities are certain to face tough questions in the coming days and weeks over why there was only one entrance through a tunnel onto grounds for what is billed as the world's largest techno party. Hundreds of thousands of people attended the event.

The panic started in the afternoon after police closed off the parade grounds because they were already overcrowded. They told revellers over loudspeakers to turn around and walk back in the other direction. When panic broke out, people were trampled to death in the tunnel.

The circumstances of the stampede in Duisburg in western Germany are still not clear.

Authorities suggested that some of the people killed or injured might have attempted to flee the crowd by jumping over a barrier and falling several yards.

Witnesses described a desperate scene as people piled up on each other or scrambled over others who had fallen in the crush.

"The young people came to celebrate and instead there are dead and injured," said Chancellor Angela Merkel. "I am horrified by the suffering and the pain."

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