Sunday, July 25, 2010

love parade death trap

it was a peaceful saturday afternoon here yesterday. rain falling around noon, then the skies brightening. then the terrible news arrived, in the afternoon: people dying at the Love Parade.

not sure if the news made it into the USA, it was all over Germany yesterday, and up in BBC and other european tv channeles: the Love Parade used to be in Berlin, along one of the huge roads, with people from all over Europe coming to take part. this year, they moved it to the Ruhrgebiet – the culture capital of Europe (where i was in March, to visit friends in "Ruhr Metropolis"). and they turned it from a through-city-event to a concert-like-event in an old railway area – in a place where they didn’t have an event like this before. and they mis-organized.

the entry was through a tunnel, and the construction leading to it was like a funnel. it was too small and too walled-up. and there were much more people than expected. they planned for about half a million, and a million arrived. also, this tunnel to get in was also the only way to get out of the area again. the tunnel and the ways leading to it clogged up around 5, which caused a panic in the tunnel area, and left 19 dead. everyone is shocked, most of all i guess because the organization lead to this, and people saw it coming earlier on, and warned the police, but no one acted up. it somehow was like organized death trap.

it still feels shocking. this is the same region where they organized a huge Autobahn pic-nic the weekend before, and closed down one of the busiest highways of Germany for this. and all went well.

another bizarre aspect of it: when they showed pictures in the news yesterday, the music was still playing, and people were dancing in front of the main stage, and the party went on - as the organizators were worried that if they shut the music down, and told the million who were there about the drama, another panic would set in, with people trying to get out of the area. so they let the music play, on and on, while they started to open emergency exits, and rescue teams tried to get to the ones in the tunnel - and had problems getting through.

here is a BBC article: "Stampede at German Love Parade festival kills 19."

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