BUENOS AIRES – Two people died early Sunday after the crowd surged when fireworks were set off at an Indio Solari concert that possibly drew more than 400,000 people to the Argentine city of Olavarria, officials said.
Prosecutor Susana Alonso, who is handling the case, said an investigation was opened into the deaths, adding that “we have the feeling that the site was able to handle fewer people.”
Initial estimates were that the site could hold “200,000 people, maybe,” while images from drones show that the actual number “could exceed 400,000,” Alonso told Radio con Vos.
“I don’t know if they all had tickets or how many they sold. But from what the investigators are telling me, based on the drones, one of the causes may have been that (overcrowding),” the prosecutor said.
Olavarria city officials, meanwhile, said the concert venue had a capacity of less than 200,000.
“The security conditions were designed for 170,000 people, half the people who were there,” Olavarria Mayor Ezequiel Galli said, adding that “no one expected so many.”
Twelve people, including a woman listed in critical condition from a drug overdose, remain hospitalized, the mayor said.
The victims were two men in their 40s who were not from the city, the Olavarria Health Secretariat said.
The size of the crowd became so large that Solari asked fans near the stage to move back and avoid crushing those in front of them.
The situation got out of control as people tried to leave the concert venue in a field in the city, located about 360 kilometers (about 224 miles) northeast of Buenos Aires, while cell phone networks collapsed due to the number of people trying to make calls at the same time.
Paramedics responded quickly and treated dozens of people for bruises and other injuries, eyewitnesses said.