I had my first experience with crowd crush a few months ago at the New Year's event downtown here in Sarasota. The annual "Pineapple drop
" where they lower a giant festive pineapple
from a crane to ring in the new year. On schedule, the pineapple
dropped, everyone sang together, and then everyone in all 4 directions from that intersection started flooding out -- but everyone was trying to exit against each other based on whichever direction they had parked in, so you just kind of had to fall into a train of people headed in whichever direction you were trying to go and the crowd built up a 2-3 city block
mass of people in each direction trying to crisscross each other's paths. One woman collapsed drunk on the corner of that intersection and with the trains of people stacking up around her, nobody more than 5ft away from her could see what the "hold-up" was until some guy started loudly shouting that a woman was on the ground
and they needed a paramedic. There were lots
of police, firefighters, and paramedics staffing that event, so they were able to get to her pretty quickly but with these trains of people trying to push past each other, even a minute or two of the trains coming to a complete stop caused an intense crowd crush and once they got to her, it was still another 4-5 minutes of everyone packed together before things started moving again. Thankfully nobody was hurt from getting stepped on but one celebratory firecracker in the crowd could've turned that into a mass casualty incident in a heartbeat.
Lots of drunk people tightly packed together and poor egress
planning is a recipe for things to get ugly quickly. There's a very
, a razor's edge
thin, between things being okay and things suddenly getting out of hand
in these situations.