June 5 (UPI) — A stampede of soccer fans in Turin, Italy, panicked by the sound of explosions in an outdoor plaza, injured about 1,500 people, medical officials said.
Fans of Juventus, Turin’s soccer team, were watching their team play rival Real Madrid on large televisions Saturday night in the Piazza San Carlo in Turin. The Champions League final match was being played in Cardiff, Wales. Explosions could be heard in the plaza during the second half of the match, which many in the crowd thought were bombs; it led to a rush to the exits in the center of the assembled crowd. Many people were trampled, while others were pushed against barriers surrounding the plaza, witnesses said.
Others were injured after a railing in an underground parking ramp collapsed in the crush of stampeding people, the Telegraph reported.
Police said a firecracker was mistaken for a bomb or gunshots, the BBC reported.
“We heard screaming and at some point thousands of people began to press to run off the square. We were all overwhelmed, there were children who lost their parents or relatives. We could not understand what was going on, even minutes later. It looked like a real bomb,” a witness told the Italian newspaper La Stampa.
At least three people were critically injured, including a boy, 7. Hospital counts of those injured totaled 1,527, the Italian news agency ANSA reported, mostly with cuts and contusions.
Real Madrid defeated Juventus in the soccer match, 4-1.
“The root cause of this was panic. We’ll have to wait to understand what triggered it,” said local official Renato Saccone.