More than 80 people have been injured, 19 seriously, after a stampede at the Falls Festival on Victoria’s south-west coast overnight.
Paramedics rushed to the scene after the crowd crush at the music festival in Lorne shortly before 11pm last night.
Police said music fans were injured when people at the front of the crowd lost their footing as they were trying to leave a performance by Australian rock band DMA’s.
Thirteen women and six men aged from their late teens to late 20s were taken to hospital with injuries including leg, rib, hip and pelvic fractures, possible spinal injuries, head and facial injuries and cuts and abrasions.
Entertainment was suspended due to the emergency situation.
Witnesses on social media have described seeing young people unconscious, with shoes torn off and mobile phones crushed.
Many criticised organisers for not providing enough exits for the size of the crowd.
“It was extremely serious … so many of us thought we weren’t going to make it out of that. Not enough exits for such a large crowd!” Lucy Spry wrote on the Falls Festival Facebook page.
“We have footage of the crowd crush tonight and my daughter was lucky to survive this horrific event due to small exits, late security intervention and the band set up of DMA,” Lpu Jani wrote.
“Shoes were torn off, phones crushed and bones broken. Let’s be serious this is a traumatic event for the patrons.”
‘We’re very fortunate we’ve had no deaths’
Authorities said it was lucky no-one was killed in the crowd stampede.
State Health Commander Paul Holman said despite the number of injuries, it could have been far worse.
“We’ve seen these events overseas and they have had tragic outcomes and we’re very fortunate we’ve had no deaths as a result of this,” he said.
“Although we have had 20 serious injuries and a lot of people injured we’ve had no deaths and we’re really grateful for that.”
Mr Holman said Ambulance Victoria had paramedics and ambulances on site which were dedicated to the event.