60 Hurt In Birmingham Crowd Crush

UK police are investigating a stampede at a free concert in Birmingham after more than 60 people were injured.

Four people needed hospital treatment, including a woman who suffered serious injuries to her pelvis, shoulder and leg. She reportedly had to be immobilised with a neck collar, spinal board and a leg splint before being moved to Birmingham City Hospital.

More than 20,000 people turned up to the city’s Millennium Square Nov. 14 to see a concert from Sugababes and “X Factor” stars JLS, who were doing a free show to mark the turning on of Birmingham’s Christmas lights.

Several hundreds of fans reportedly surged forward through safety barriers, crushing those at the front. A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said crews set up a temporary medical area at the scene.

A council representative denied claims that the authority had misjudged the numbers that would attend, although the Daily Express reported that it might have to reconsider staging similar free events.

Video footage on the Sky News Web site showed hundreds of people breaking through a metal barrier while JLS was performing. The show was immediately canceled.

“We have a safety advisory group and everyone was aware and comfortable with the layout,” said Steve Hollingworth, the council’s sport and events assistant director. “The real issue around this is the unprecedented amount of people that turned up. Once the limit had been reached people were outside, very frustrated, and ultimately they pushed the fence down.”

Local MP Khalid Mahmood, who represents the Perry Barr area of the city, said the council was to blame for the disorder.

“People sent their children, a lot of them trusting the fact that the local authority had arranged this and made it secure,” he said. “This could have been far worse than it was, we are very lucky. There was no real assessment of what the dangers were and how many people there could be.”

In December 2008 nearly 30 JLS fans, mainly teenage girls, were injured outside Croydon’s Fairfields Hall after learning that the act – which comes from the area – was planning to film a concert at the venue.

A section of the crowd surged forwards, pushing fans at the front into crash barriers.

Eye witness photos can be seen here.