Lawyers blame many for Halloween deaths

Dec. 13, 2012 at 8:21 PM
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MADRID, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The arena where five young Spanish women died in a Halloween stampede was an unsuitable venue for a large party, lawyers for the families said Thursday.

The lawyers visited the Madrid Arena with investigators, ThinkSpain reported. At a news conference, they cited overcrowding, narrow exit corridors, lack of medical staff and ambulances at an event where large numbers of young people were likely to be drinking and an inadequate police presence.

"Nobody would believe the Madrid Arena had a license for 10,000 people," Abdon Nunez, who represents the family of Belen Langdon, 17, said. "It is unacceptable, shameful -- words fail me. There are so many issues to clarify and so many individual people who will be liable that this inspection is just the tip of the iceberg."

Langdon died two days after she was found unconscious, and Maria Teresa Alonso, 20, spent a month in a coma before dying. Katia Esteban, Rocío Ona and Cristina Arce, all 18, died the night of the party.

Gerardo Viada, lawyer for Esteban's parents, said there were only three exits from the dance floor. Others had been blocked or were taken up by the stage.

Nunez said the exit corridors are only 10 feet wide and have ceilings so low "you bang your head."

The crew of the only ambulance at the arena as the party got under way decided to go there voluntarily. When the stampede began, medical workers were in the parking lot treating people with alcohol poisoning and they only learned what was happening inside the arena when someone called an emergency number.

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