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Lottery promotional stunt turns ugly

INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- An Indiana state lottery promotion of releasing possible prize-bearing balloons nearly didn't get off the ground in Indianapolis when a crowd mobbed the podium.

The event Wednesday at Pan American Plaza was scheduled to release 200 red balloons, 10 of which contained vouchers for $25 scratch-off tickets.

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But as lottery spokesman Andrew Reid was doing the countdown, the crowd surged forward and began grappling for the balloons before they were released, the Indianapolis Star reported Thursday.

Reed repeatedly shouted "No" into the microphone as crowds pushed and lunged for balloon strings from the people holding them.

One of them was outgoing executive director of the lottery, Esther Schneider, whose face was cut in the scuffle as she screamed for the crowd to stop, the newspaper said.

Most of the balloons were released, and Schneider said she was disappointed about being "clawed to death," the newspaper said.

"It was like a mob mentality," she said.

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