Terrorism Fears Trigger Fan Stampede At Soccer Championship

MILAN (AP) — More than 1,500 people were injured when panic swept through a crowd of Juventus fans watching the Champions League final in a piazza in the northern Italian city of Turin, authorities said Sunday.

The Turin prefect said in a statement that the crowd “was taken by panic and by the psychosis of a terror attack,” fearing that a loud noise was caused by attackers. The source of the loud noise that triggered the stampede remained unclear, officials said.

The noise triggered panic among thousands of fans gathered in Piazza San Carlo to watch the match pitting Juventus against Real Madrid on giant TV screens. Fans were trampled as they tried to flee.

Marco Gulini said he was pushed to the ground by the surging crowd.

“Fortunately, I managed to escape,” he said. “I was so scared, very terrified, as if escaping a narrow death.

Another fan, Agnello Vietiello, said the force of people pushing created “a jostling, just like an earthquake. The ground was shaking.”

Most of the injured were treated for cuts and light contusions. Three, including a young boy who suffered cranial and thoracic trauma, were in serious condition, officials said.

On Sunday, the piazza remained cordoned off by police, while sanitation workers cleaned up the debris left behind.

Local officials questioned the wisdom of allowing the party to take place in a city piazza and not in a park with more emergency exits, as well as the failure to ban glass bottles, which were the source of many injuries.

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