Experts slam organizers over Germany stampede

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Andreas Schadschneider, a physics professor at the University of Cologne who researches evacuation dynamics, said the smallest incident under such circumstances can be fatal.

“The forces in such human crowds are unimaginable,” he said.

Similar disasters have brought change in the past. A sweeping modernization of English football stadiums and a transformation of policing methods followed the 1989 disaster at Hillsborough in Sheffield, where 96 people died after being crushed and suffocated in overcrowded sections of the stadium.

A 90-day inquiry by a judge exposed flaws in the way football games were policed in unsafe stadiums, and the British government ruled that all top-flight stadiums would be seating-room only and that perimeter fences would be torn down.

In Germany, the city of Dresden said it would take lessons from Duisburg into account when hosting a big Protestant church event and the woman’s football world cup next year, according to a report from the DDP news agency.

The organizers of a huge heavy metal festival planned in the town of Wacken in August said they will now check their security plans again for possible weak points.

Andre Aahrle, whose company Special Security Service says it handles about 1,000 big events per year, said Germany’s current requirements are already enough.

“The rules are absolutely sufficient, but only if they are respected,” Aahrle said.


Baetz reported from Berlin.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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