Four students dead in stampede at tech festival in Cochin University of Science and Technology

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At least four students were killed and 61 were injured in a stampede at an auditorium on the main campus of the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) where a tech fest was concluding on Saturday. Two of the injured are reported to be serious.


Also read | Tragedy appears to be a freak incident, says ADGP

The incident occurred around 7.30 p.m. just before the start of a concert by playback singer Nikhita Gandhi. The auditorium was already packed with over a 1,000 students. Hundreds of students who were waiting outside the auditorium rushed in when there was a sudden downpour and they fell upon those who were standing on the steps leading to the auditorium below.  

While the authorities at the Government Medical College Hospital, Ernakulam, confirmed the death of four students, more details were not immediately available. Forty-six injured students were admitted to the MCH, and 15 to Kinder Hospital in the vicinity.

Eyewitnesses said that the auditorium was jam-packed before the start of the music show. Those who rushed in did not realise that they were running into students, said a person.

Emergency meeting

In the wake of the tragedy, an emergency meeting of the Cabinet was presided by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at Kozhikode. Ministers P. Rajeeve and R. Bindu were asked to rush to Kochi. Health Minister Veena George said health-care professionals, including doctors, were available at the MCH and at the General Hospital in Ernakulam to provide all medical support.

University response

The university authorities said they did not anticipate such a crowd. Students from other educational institutions had also turned up at the venue for the music show. The gate at the entrance was kept locked to control the rush. But the situation went out of control when those waiting outside barged in amidst the sudden downpour. A student who was part of the organising team said that their appeal not to rush into the auditorium went unheeded. “We could not realise that those rushing in were falling upon others who were already standing inside and close to the entrance gate,” he said.

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