Some 1,000 Juventus soccer fans watching the European Champions League final in the Italian city of Turin have been injured in a stampede triggered by a bomb scare.
Witnesses said a firecracker explosion caused a panic movement at a Champions League fan zone in one of Turin’s main squares, where some 20,000 Juventus enthusiasts had gathered Saturday to watch their team face Spanish club Real Madrid on giant TV screens.
During the second half of the match, which Juventus lost 1-4, people mistook firecrackers for a terrorist bombing or gunshots, according to the witnesses.
Many panic-stricken fans then started screaming and trying to run out of the place when some people shouted that a bomb had exploded, triggering a large stampede.
Video cameras showed a sudden rush in the middle of the crowd flung against barriers at Piazza San Carlo Square.
About seven people were seriously hurt, including a 7-year-old boy who had been trampled.
“At that moment, I saw the entire piazza went in the direction next to the screen to escape, all in a panic,” said Brian Hendrie, an Associated Press reporter. “They ran, fell on the ground on the glass.”
Afterwards shoes and bags littered the ground, while people were seen limping and searching desperately for friends and relatives, according to a witness.
Police are now investigating the cause of the mayhem.
“The root cause of this was panic, to understand what triggered it we will have to wait a while,” said Renato Saccone, the prefect of Turin.
Juve head coach Massimiliano Allegri said following the match, “I would just like to say that we feel for what happened to our fans in Turin. There was an incident there; we hope that not too many people were injured.”
In recent years, a string of terror attacks, including bombings, shootings and stabbings, have hit multiple European cities, striking fear into the hearts of the nations in the continent.
Just as the European Champions League final was taking place, terrorists struck at the heart of London, killing six people in a series of vehicle and knife attacks.