German prosecutors have opened a manslaughter investigation into the 21 deaths caused by a crowd crush at the Love Parade techno festival in Duisburg, but haven’t named any suspects.
German news magazine Der Spiegel reported police have searched the offices of festival organiser Rainer Schaller, a report subsequently confirmed by Duisburg prosecutors’ spokesman Detlef Nowotsch.
The disaster, which happened at the mouth of the tunnel entrance to the former railway freight depot July 24, drew an angry reaction from two of the country’s biggest festival promoters.
Marek Lieberberg, who promotes the twinned Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals, called for the resignation of Duisburg Mayor Adolf Sauerland. He said it was “criminal” to allow the event to go ahead.
Folkert Koopmans of FKP Scorpio, which runs a handful of festivals including Hurricane, Southside, and Highfield, said he struggled to understand how someone had signed off on a risk assessment that involved “1.5 million people passing through a tunnel that’s 100 metres long and only 16 metres wide.”
The Wikileaks website, which publishes anonymous submissions and leaks of otherwise unavailable documents, has posted material suggesting the event organisers were expecting the maximum number of visitors to be around 485,000 but not more than 250,000 at any given time.
Koopmans also said Duisburg shouldn’t have been surprised that more than 1 million people turned out, as the last two Love Parades in Essen and Dortmund both brought in about 1.2 million. Last year the nearby city of Bochum pulled out of staging the event because of crowd safety concerns.
Duisburg city officials held a press conference July 25 to announce that the 21 people killed were all aged between 20 and 40 and included seven foreign visitors. A further 500 people were injured.