Suspected Crush at London Concert Leaves 4 Critically Injured

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Four people were in critical condition after suffering injuries believed to have been caused by a crush during a packed concert in London at one of Britain’s leading music venues, the capital’s police force said on Friday.

A large crowd attempted to force its way into the concert, a sold-out performance on Thursday evening by Asake, a Nigerian Afrobeats singer and songwriter, at the venue, the O2 Academy Brixton, prompting the emergency services to respond, the police said in a statement.

Ade Adelekan, a commander for the Metropolitan Police, the force that serves London, said that the authorities had opened an investigation and that it would be “as thorough and as forensic as necessary.”

A total of eight people were taken to the hospital, including the four in critical condition. It was unclear on Friday whether the injuries had occurred inside or outside the venue, which has a capacity of nearly 5,000, according to its website. Video footage and testimonies from people who said that they were at the venue on Thursday evening showed chaotic scenes.

Akin Oluwaleimu, 53, went to the concert with his 14-year-old daughter but did not enter and decided to leave when things turned “rowdy” outside, according to the BBC.

“We tried to find out what was going on and were told they had just shut the door and they won’t allow people to go in,” Mr. Oluwaleimu said.

“Two ladies fainted and were carried up high away. People were injured because there was a lot of pushing, a lot of pushing,” he added. “I was not worried about myself but I was worried about my daughter’s safety.”

Video from the scene showed crowds surging through the venue’s main entrance as cheers and screams rang out through the throng of fans stretched out into the main road.

“This is so dangerous,” one person can be heard saying.

The episode led to the abandonment of the concert, the last of three sold-out shows at the venue by the 27-year-old Asake, whose much-anticipated debut album this year was well received in both Britain and the United States.

“My heart is with those who were injured last night,” Asake said in a statement posted on Instagram, noting that he had not heard from the O2 Academy Brixton about what had caused the disruption. He said he was sorry that the concert had been cut short. “I pray you get well soonest,” he added.

The O2 Academy Brixton did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mayor Sadiq Khan of London said in a Twitter post that he was “heartbroken that this could happen to young Londoners enjoying a night out in our city.”

“I won’t rest until we have the answers their loved ones and the local community need and deserve,” he added.

The police station in Brixton, South London, lies only about 100 yards from the venue, and a cordon was in place Friday morning, with the normally bustling road alongside closed to traffic.

Above the building’s entrance, a “sold out” sign was still visible, and garbage lay strewn across the street outside.

London is home to a large African community, and the Afrobeats genre has grown increasingly popular in the capital in recent years, with artists frequently selling out packed shows.



Sumber: www.nytimes.com

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