Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Several shoppers were hurt at an Australia mall when a retail Christmas promotion led to a violent stampede, officials said.
The Westfield Parramatta in Sydney attracted a large crowd late Monday with a promise to give away prizes during a "balloon drop" at the event. The giveaway, however, became dangerous when hoards of shoppers rushed for the prizes and trampled a number of people, authorities said.
Five people were hospitalized and several others were treated at the scene for injuries.
New South Wales Ambulance Inspector Phil Templeman said paramedics treated 12 people hurt in what he called a "stampede."
Three shoppers received "more serious issues," including chest, neck and back injuries, Templeman added.
Mall owner the Scentre Group praised its team for acting "swiftly to support our customers" and "make the area safe."
The group said it will "look into the circumstances" of Monday night's event.