A bomb scare triggered panic among Juventus fans assembled to watch the Champions League final in Turin on Saturday, leaving some 200 supporters injured, according to local police.
AFP reporters at the scene said chaotic scenes ensued ten minutes before the end of the match, apparently triggered by fireworks being let off and one or more people shouting that a bomb had gone off.
That was enough to trigger a stampede out of the city’s Piazza San Carlo, in which the injuries occurred. The incident compounded a miserable night for supporters of Juventus, who lost the Cardiff final 4-1 to Real Madrid.
The square was evacuated so quickly it was left strewn with sneakers ripped off people’s feet as they ran.
“The root cause of this was panic, to understand what triggered it we will have to wait a while,” said top local official Renato Saccone, the prefect of Turin.
Police said some 200 people had needed hospital treatment with two of them in a serious condition. Some injuries occurred after a railing around the entrance to an underground parking beneath the square gave way under the weight of the crush.
Local media cited older Juventus fans present as saying the panic had evoked painful memories of the 1985 Heysel disaster in which 39 mostly Italian fans died when fans were crushed by a collapsing wall before the start of that year’s European Cup final, against Liverpool.