Love Parade survivors speak of chaos, panic and anger

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Huddled together in Duisburg's main train station, unable to leave, Love Parade partygoerss still in shock Sunday were reliving the horror of the mass panic that cost some 19 lives.

"I saw dead people in the tunnel, others alive but unconscious on the ground. Others were crying," said Anneke Kuypers, an 18-year-old from New Zealand on a student exchange in Belgium.

"As I have lifeguard experience, I tried to help for a while. People were suffering from dehydration, some from drug or alcohol overdoses. It was crazy," she said, as she hunted for two lost friends.

Nevertheless, her experience did not stop her from taking part. "I finally went to the festival, because I wanted to let up," she told AFP.

Another raver who gave his name as Alexis from the western German city of Wuppertal said he was in the tunnel leading to the show ground where many were killed in the stampede.

"There were just too many fences. Everywhere it was just far too narrow. Several girls collapsed because of the heat. Totally crazy," said the 28-year-old.

Taggart Bowen-Gaddy, 20, an American from Philadelphia studying in the French city of Metz, said there were a few angry incidents as people began to lash out in the panic, but overall people tried to save the lives of others.

"A lot of people were very afraid. Some were completely crying, probably they were on drugs," he said.

"Some guys got angry, protecting their girlfriends. But overall people wanted to help each other. Everyone just wanted to get out."

For many survivors, panic and terror gave way quickly to anger directed at the authorities and the organisers, who kept the party going until late on Saturday in a bid to avoid a further crush.

One 31-year-old from Hanover, who gave his name as Lubbert, said: "What's crazy is that the party carried on. That's just not right. People kept on dancing even though they might have had friends who had died."

"At the end, the organisers even said 'thank you for a great day'."

Patrick Guenter, a 22-year-old baker, also hit out at the organisers. "The organisation was very bad. Quickly there was nothing to drink apart from alcohol and although the festival was full, they kept letting people in."

"It seems the organisers didn't plan the route. The road was very narrow. There was no planning, no one knew what was going on," added Bowen-Gaddy.

Another 31-year-old man, also named Patrick, feared that the tragedy could spell the end for the annual Love Parade, one of Europe's biggest techno dance parties.

"I've been to six or seven Love Parades and this is the worst. It's probably also the last because no city will dare to organise it after this," he said.

© 2010 AFP

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