Dec. 9 (UPI) — Five teenagers and one adult were killed early Saturday when a stampede broke out at a nightclub near the Adriatic coast of Italy.
The crowd in Corinaldo broke out into a panic over someone at the venue spraying an “irritant substance,” the civilian protection agency said in a CNN report. NBC News cited police who said the dead included three girls, two boys, and an adult woman accompanying her daughter to a show held at the club for rapper Sfera Ebbasta.
A Facebook post from Italian deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio indicated the teenagers were between the ages of 14 and 16. The adult was 39 years old, according to the post.
Police said at least another 52 people suffered injuries, 12 of whom were in serious condition.
Col. Cristian Carrozza, a chief investigator with Italy’s Carabinieri, told The New York Times that the club sold about 1,400 tickets for the event, well over the venue’s maximum legal capacity of 870 people.
“One hypothesis was that overcrowding was a contributing cause,” Carrozza said.
Pope Francis held a prayer for the victims Saturday in the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square.