Three hurt in Cape crowd surge

2010-06-10 20:15

Three people, one of them a metropolitan policeman, were

hospitalised after a “crowd surge” outside Cape Town’s official Fifa Fan Fest

park.

Two women had broken ankles, and the metro police officer a broken

leg, Western Cape police spokesman Captain Frederick van Wyk said.

The park, on the city’s Grand Parade, was the venue of a free

“Welcome the World” concert ahead of tomorrow’s soccer World Cup kick-off.

Van Wyk said organisers decided during the afternoon that the crowd

inside had reached capacity and no more people would be allowed in.

However at 4pm people outside the gates in Darling Street started

pushing in an attempt to enter.

South African Police Services and Cape Town metro police repeatedly

told them via loudhailers that the concert was full and that they should move to

overflow areas in Adderley Street where big screens had been set up.

“People at the back then kept moving forward and a crush ensued,”

Van Wyk said.

“Three people sustained injuries, two females both with broken

ankles and one metro police official had a broken leg.”

The injured people were attended to by emergency medical services

ambulance personnel and a doctor on the scene, and transported to a nearby

hospital.

“Police took control over the situation and [the] situation

normalised,” said Van Wyk.

After the gates were closed, a line of police with riot shields and

helmets were deployed, and at one point mounted police were used to push back a

section of the crowd that still massed at the gates.

Cape Town city spokeswoman Kylie Hatton said three other people

were attended to after collapsing in the crowd, though this was not related to

the surge.

“I’ve just had a report from the venue operations centre.

Everything’s very calm and the crowd are enjoying themselves quite safely now,”

she said at 8pm.

She said the gates had been closed when the crowd inside reached

capacity at 16 500.

The city had warned earlier in the afternoon that the event was

nearly full, she said.

Hatton said the city had learned from the incident that it should

divert people to overflow areas earlier.

Additional city law enforcement staff, who had not been scheduled

for duty, were brought in after 5pm.

She said tomorrow’s fan park event and the evening France-Uruguay

game in the city would have a “lot larger event footprint”, with much more

security than had been arranged for tonight’s concert.

On Sunday 15 people were injured when fans stampeded at a stadium

in Tembisa for a World Cup warm-up match between Nigeria and North Korea.

The crowd inside the Cape Town concert was entertained from early

afternoon by a series of musical acts.

One of the performers in the second half of the concert was to be

R&B star R Kelly, accompanied by The Soweto Spiritual Singers.

Kelly joined city mayor Dan Plato and Western Cape premier Helen

Zille midway through the day-night concert for the lighting of a symbolic “light

of hope”.

Hundreds more people, many blowing vuvuzelas, thronged Adderley and

other streets in the city centre, and pubs and food stores did a roaring

trade.

 

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