Up to 80 people have been injured, 19 seriously, after a crowd stampede at the Falls Festival on Victoria’s south-west coast overnight.
Paramedics assessed dozens of people following the crowd crush at the music festival in Lorne shortly before 11:00pm on Friday.
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 as well as cuts and abrasions.
Another person was also taken to hospital with a medical complaint.
Entertainment was suspended due to the emergency situation.
One of the victims, 19-year-old Olivia Jones, is being treated in Lorne Hospital for leg injuries.
She described being trapped at the bottom of the stampede and blames narrow exits and too many people in the tent for the crowd crush.
“My legs were crushed, I thought they were broken. I couldn’t feel my legs,” she said.
“I was under there for about three minutes just gasping for air and I eventually passed out and was dragged out and slapped in the face a few times to be woken up.”
Witnesses on social media 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.
Lpu Jani wrote: “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.”