A young student has been crushed to death after falling down the stairs at a house party.
On Saturday night, Sophia Crestani, 19, visited a party house called ‘The Manor’ in Dunedin, New Zealand. Witnesses told there were between 500 and 600 students at the party and that revelers were ‘packed in like sardines’.
Ms. Crestani fell down the stairwell and was reportedly crushed to death after ‘panic set in’.
The University of Otago student had just finished her end-of-year exams when she died.
A student who was at the party described to the NZ Herald that there was a crush after Ms. Crestani fell.
The guest told the crowds made people ‘slip and fall’ all over the stairs throughout the night.
“People started falling down the stairs onto one another, that’s when the panic set in, people thinking ‘I don’t want to be the one on the floor’. I don’t think a lot of people realized what happened. It was awful. It was so totally packed, once you’re under, you’re under.”
Otago Coastal Area commander Inspector Marty Gray carried a press conference after Ms. Crestani’s death declaring it was ‘too early’ to know the circumstances.
‘It’s not a time to sort of point fingers or to indicate that anything sinister went on. It’s for us to rally around this community who are hurting and for a very good reason,’ Insp Gray said.
He told his department was originally contacted by Campus Watch at 11.55 pm on Saturday night urging them to shut down a party at a newly sold student accommodation building.
Reportedly, the party was regarded as a ‘farewell’ to the building which had been utilized to host parties for years previous to the university selling it.
They got another call five minutes later. A partygoer pleaded with police to arrive and help clear everybody out.
‘When our officers arrived there was… about 500 or 600 partygoers, a lot of them anxious, a lot of them trying to get out of the premises, a lot of them trying to get in the premises, a lot of disorganization, a lot of uncertainty, a lot of anxiety,’ he said.
‘The victim was carried out of the house by other people and resuscitation attempts were made at that time.’
Reportedly, two other students were hurt at the party.