Monday 3 May 2010

Fatal crushes and stampedes

At least five people have been crushed to death after the sound of gunfire caused a stampede at a concert in Monterrey, northern Mexico. The city has recently been the scene of violent clashes between rival drugs gangs.

One of the worst ever fatal crushes came at Chungking in China during World War Two. The authorities had built one of the biggest air raid shelters in the world, capable of holding about 30,000.

On June 6, 1941, the Japanese bombed the city for about three hours, and during the raid the shelter’s ventilation system broke down. So while there was an apparent lull in the attack, hundreds of shelterers decided to nip outside for a breath of fresh air.

But almost immediately, the alarm sounded, so people outside tried to force their way down, causing a deadly chaotic crush in which up to 4,000 people perished. For more fatal crushes, see A Disastrous History of the World. (See also my blogs of Jan 18 and March 30, 2009)

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