Six people have been killed in a stampede when panic broke out during a rap concert at an Italian nightclub early on Saturday morning.
Media reports say the suspected use of a pepper spray-like substance sparked the chaos at the venue in the town of Corinaldo, near Ancona in central Italy that also left dozens injured.
“The cause may have been the dispersal of a stinging substance, the young people fled and trampled over each other. Sadly, six people died and dozens are injured,” the fire service said in a statement on Twitter.
The victims include five people under the age of 18 three girls and two boys and an adult woman who accompanied her daughter to the concert.
12 of the injured were in serious condition. Witnesses said people were crushed to death after falling from a small wall as they attempted to flee. Around 1,000 people many of them young were in the Lanterna Azzurra (Blue Lantern) club for a performance by Italian rapper Sfera Ebbasta.
“We were dancing and waiting for the concert to start when we smelt this pungent odour. We ran to one of the emergency exits but we found it blocked, the bouncers told us to go back” a 16-year-old boy who was taken to hospital told the media.