The New York Times reported that police observed overcrowding at the entrance and asked people to turn back just before apparent panic set in and fans rushed the gate about 5 p.m. Berlin time on Saturday.
Rescuers had a hard time getting to the injured as fans trampled others and continued on to the party. The scene was described as chaotic, and people partied on even as authorities tended to the dead and wounded.
The Los Angeles Times describes one scene:
Kevin Krausgartner, a 21-year-old who found himself trapped in the tunnel, told German news media he had witnessed "gruesome scenes."According to that people the event was held in the smaller city of Duisburg, prompting concerns that the 500,000-population municipality was too small to handle the influx of more than a million party-goers.
"I've never seen anything like it," he said. "There were 25 people lying in a heap. I screamed; people could no longer get any air. I saw dead people, and one person was sitting there looking extremely pale. I wanted to give him some water, but the ambulance medic told me there was no point as he was already dead."
The show went on.
The crush follows a new spike in popularity for electronic dance music events that saw gatecrashing and other problems at this year's 160,000-strong Electric Daisy Carnival in Los Angeles. Even the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, normally a more mainstream concert-going experience -- but one with electronic dance music overtones -- saw a flood of people at the gates on its first of three days this year.
More on the tragedy in Berlin from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.
[Photos spotted on Twitpic].