Timeline of the Love Parade tragedy | Germany | News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 25.07.2010

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Timeline of the Love Parade tragedy

Hundreds of thousands of techno music fans attended the Love Parade, which ended in tragedy after panic broke out in a tunnel that served as the event's entrance. Here is a chronology of events that led to the incident.

Party-goers receive medical attention after the Love Parade stampede

Many people were overwhelmed by the throng of people trying to escape

Saturday morning: The city of Duisburg, population 490,000, awaits the arrival of hundreds of thousands of ravers and party-goers for the Love Parade techno dance music festival.

14:00: The festival in the Ruhr city begins with blue skies and temperatures at around 24 degrees Celsius (75 degrees F). Sixteen floats are to travel around a former railway freight yard for four hours, in what was expected to be a huge economic opportunity for the region.

15:00: Crowds begin to swell in anticipation of the many world-renowned DJs and musicians to perform at the festival. 4,000 police officers were called in to patrol the party. Many were stationed along the path from the nearest train station to the festival area.

16:00: Around 1,400 helpers and 59 emergency doctors are on hand to provide medical attention to anyone in need. Ambulance sirens could be heard sporadically as emergency vehicles find it difficult to move through the masses of people. People begin crossing over train tracks as it was announced that the main station would be closed. Festival-goers begin jostling.

People standing at a fence after panic broke out

Over 300 were injured in the mass panic

16:50: The event area is closed off due to overcrowding. An estimated 500,000 people wait outside the single entry point, a tunnel located on Karl-Lehr Street, unable to move forward or go back to the station. Police begin asking people to turn back. People in the crowd are unable to see that the area behind the tunnel is closed off. Police were alerted to the potential threats due to overcrowding as people ignored directions to leave the area and instead continued attempts to enter the festival via the tunnel.

17:00: A bottleneck forms in the tunnel as people continue pushing forward. Simultaneously, others attempt to move in the opposite direction to return to the railway station. The air begins to thin and panic builds as some attempt to escape - to no avail. Many people are intoxicated or using drugs, and are severely dehydrated.

The situation intensifies as people begin struggling against one another in the tunnel, causing many to be knocked to the ground as they try to escape the confusion.

17:15: Fifteen people are reported to have injured themselves when trying to jump over a barrier at one end of the tunnel in an attempt to escape the stampede. Their injuries include spinal damage.

18:00: The tunnel slowly begins to empty and medics enter the area. They attempt to resuscitate those who had been caught underneath the mass attempting to escape, however at least 10 people were found dead. A further 10 were successfully revived. People already inside the festival continue to dance, unaware of events outside.

People standing at a fence after panic broke out

Emergency exits were opened after the stampede occurred

18:10: Some inside the festival begin receiving cell phone text messages alerting them to the stampede outside, and festival-goers are asked to leave the area, however the music continues.

19:00: The festival area slowly empties as emergency exits are opened. Around 120 buses - originally intended to carry people after the festival - are called to begin collecting people. Ambulances begin cluttering a nearby highway. Reports begin to trickle out saying the number of injured was in the hundreds, and that at least 15 had been killed.

20:00: State Interior Minister Ralf Wegner gives a press conference describing his shock that lives had been lost at the festival. Duisburg Mayor Adolf Sauerland calls the event "one of the biggest tragedies the city has ever experienced."

23:00: The number of victims rises to 18, 16 of whom died at the scene of the stampede and two others who succumbed to their injuries in hospital.

Sunday, 03:31: A spokesperson for Duisburg police says the number of dead has risen to 19, with 342 people having sustained injuries.

Author: Darren Mara
Editor: Sean Sinico

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