One-way tickets to the ‘fatal shore’ began in January 1788
Sometimes, masses of spectators or participants to an event wind up in a terrible situation, when panic ensues and exits are hard to come by. Many victims of crowd event tragedies die from suffocation, hemorrhage or they’re simply trampled to death. Here are five of the worst crowd event tragedies in history.
Victoria Hall disaster
In 1883, a children’s variety show was performed at a large concert hall in Sunderland, Great Britain. Near the end of the performance, the crowd with over 1,000 children was informed that certain tickets would grant the bearer a special treat. In a rush to claim the treats, the children stampeded down a narrow staircase, only to become trapped by a door that was only opened enough to allow them to pass through one at a time. A total of 183 children perished in the disaster.
A massive human stampede took place in Russia in 1896 during the coronation festivities that were taking place when Tsar Nicholas was crowned. Rumors of coronation gifts brought thousands of people to a field near the celebration square, and a resulting panic and rush, 1,389 of the new Tsar’s subjects were crushed or trampled to death, and an additional 1,000 injured.
Iroquois Theatre fire
The Iroquois Theater was located in Chicago, Illinois, when a massive fire broke out in 1903. On December 30, the theater presented the Drury Lane musical Mr. Bluebeard, which packed the house so well there were hundreds of standing-room-only tickets. Over 2,000 patrons were present for the play, many of whom were children. During the beginning of the second act, an arc light shorted out, sending sparks onto muslin curtains which burst into flames. The theater quickly became a raging inferno, and over 600 panicked and trapped people lost their lives trying to escape.
Collinwood school fire
In 1908, a school in Collinwood, Ohio, burst into flames, claiming the lives of 175 people. The fire started when a wood joist caught fire after being overheated with a steam pipe. Escape was difficult due to the construction of the building, and as many doors opened inward instead of outward, children easily became trapped.
Lima football disaster
In Lima, Peru, riots broke out during a 1964 Olympic qualifying match. A controversial call by a referee sparked an invasion of the playing field, which was followed by police firing tear gas upon the crowd. As attendees attempted to get away from the tear gas, scores of people were trapped by locked gates, and officially, 318 perished from asphyxiation or internal hemorrhage. An additional 500 were injured.