Mass panic: causes and consequences

Due to a mass panic it came to the Loveparade 2010 in Duisburg to dead and injured. It was meant to be a peaceful celebration of the Techno music culture. But the well-known big event Loveparade was overshadowed by a fatal catastrophe. How can such a panic arise? And what consequences can a mass panic have for individual health?

Loveparade 2010: Mass panic with tragic consequences

On July 24, 2010, the Loveparade 2010 in Duisburg suddenly changed into a tragic catastrophe. Instead of celebrating a Technofest of love, far more than 600 visitors were injured and 21 people even had to pay with their lives. Probably a stampede is seen as the cause of the disaster. The exact facts are determined by the prosecutor.

Mass panic at major events

Wherever many people gather in a confined space, there is a potential danger of mass panic. Concerts, football matches in large stadiums and other major events must therefore be planned and implemented under strict security precautions. This is to avoid possible dangers for the participating people and their health.

To what extent safety precautions have been disregarded on the Loveparade is currently being examined. Visitors to the Love Parade reported that there were only two ways in and out of the festival parade of the Love Parade. The path led through two tunnels along a railway track and was too narrow for the crowds of visitors. According to the organizers were 1.4 million visitors to the Love Parade. In line with the security measures, however, the existing capacities were only geared to 250, 000 people.

Uncontrollable fear through panic

Whenever a situation seems almost hopeless for people, panic can arise. Most panic is accompanied by health effects such as shaking, sweating, palpitations, dyspnoea and dizziness. In a mass panic sufferers often report that they felt very close to death.

These symptoms can lead to uncontrollable anxiety. This fear, however, can lead to fatal consequences, because people act in panic situations with uncontrollable movements. There is an urgent need to flee, which is called a herd instinct, because often those affected are guided by the behavior of the other present.

When trying to escape the narrowness of alternative ways, people can hurt themselves and others. Because distances and heights can not be properly estimated and assessed during the panic. Often lacking in the panic realistic shot. Experts recommend to keep calm, even if this is difficult.

Injuries due to mass panic

Furthermore one should try, despite the panic, to calm and comfort fellow human beings. If you are pushed against a wall, it can be an advantage to stand sideways. If you stand with your back or chest to the wall, massive crowding can lead to enormous and life-threatening injuries. It is particularly fatal to fall in a mass panic and to lie on the ground. The fleeing crowd can register this only inadequately during the panic, so that these victims then additionally feared by the mass movement further health damage.

Typical injuries in a mass panic are:

  • bone fractures
  • Fractures of the extremities
  • Craniocerebral trauma
  • Injuries to the lungs, heart, spleen or liver

As a mass panic tremendous pressure, organs can also tear, so that the victims may bleed inside the consequences.

Traumatic asphyxia as a result of death

The most common cause of death in a mass panic is traumatic asphyxia (Perthes syndrome), a threatening asphyxia. Massive chest injuries can cause this type of asphyxia to stop the exchange of air and gas in the body. The lack of oxygen supply can suffocate the victims of mass panic.

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