UK

German Love Parade crush horror described by Britons

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Media captionEyewitness Salil Bhate: "People had trample marks on their face"

Britons have spoken of their horror after witnessing a stampede at a free dance music festival in Germany which claimed 19 lives.

Witnesses have criticised the decision to have just one entrance through a tunnel to the Love Parade and said they warned police about overcrowding.

One Briton, Salil Bhate, described seeing people lying on the ground with "stamp marks on their faces".

Local authorities said a plan had been in place prior to the event.

The mayor of Duisburg Adolf Sauerland, where the festival took place, said a security plan had been worked out beforehand.

Mr Bhate, from Romford, Greater London, had "spontaneously" decided to go to the festival while on holiday in Germany.

"The stampede reminded me of a heavy metal concert, only here, there was nobody to help," he said.

"The number of people that I saw lying on the floor, but too far away, was ridiculous. They had stamp marks on their faces. It wasn't until I saw people being resuscitated that I understood how serious this was."

The Briton described the behaviour of the authorities at the event as "simply unbelievable".

"The police and security personnel were more concerned with keeping people away from the edges, rather than helping people in," he said.

Alan Donaldson, another Briton, described the stampede as "a nightmare" and said he would like to see some organisers sent to jail for their role in the stampede which saw about 300 people injured, dozens seriously.

Describing the conditions in the crowd, he said: "There were so many people - it was way too small.

"This is the first time I have seen people die and it happened in front of me. What a waste of life.

"Someone needs to go for jail for this because some people died for absolutely nothing. The moment I got there, I knew it was going to be a nightmare because there were too many people and it was way too small."

The Love Parade attracts music fans from all over the world, with floats from Brazil, Russia, the Netherlands, Spain and Australia among other nations.

The floats had been expected to parade through the city for 10 hours. Many top international DJs were also due to perform.

Mark Knight, a British DJ booked to perform at the event, was shocked when he was told to continue with his set on the main stage - even though it was clear something had gone wrong.

The DJ, who said he was "taken aback" when he eventually discovered the full extent of the stampede, said the organisers had been "quite adamant" that he should perform.

"They had been liaising with the authorities and the stance that they had taken was that we really cannot make people aware too much of this situation for fear of more panic. So we had to keep playing, which was very odd and a surreal environment."

The DJ said only about half of the crowd appeared to be aware of the stampede and "the magnitude of the situation", which created a "very weird atmosphere".

"We could see people trying to jump up over the fences and trying to get away from the entrance but we weren't aware of what actually was going on.

"It was hard to take it all in but something about it just didn't seem right."

The event began in Berlin in 1989 as a peace demonstration and developed into a huge open-air music festival.

The Love Parade attracts music fans from all over the world, with floats from Brazil, Russia, the Netherlands, Spain and Australia among other nations.

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