Image for Falls Festival Defends Itself After Stampede Victim Speaks OutImage: Instagram / triplejhack

Falls Festival Defends Itself After Stampede Victim Speaks Out

Written by Tom Williams on January 11, 2017

Falls Festival has defended its response to a crowd crush incident at the Victorian leg of its 2016/2017 event, after a young woman spoke out about being injured in the stampede.

22-year-old Maddy, who was one of the 19 people hospitalised in a crush which left almost 100 people injured, has told the ABC she’s out of work after fracturing a bone and being left with blood in her eyes as a result of the accident.

Maddy says she remembers letting go of her friend’s hand and falling to the ground as she made her way from DMA’s set to London Grammar’s set at this year’s Falls Festival in Lorne.

“I fell over the girls who had fallen down, and I kind of flipped and went on my back and started getting dragged along the ground. That’s when panic set in — I started screaming,” she says.

“People just started piling on top of me. I was still moving until it wasn’t possible for me to move myself. I don’t know how many people were on top of me but I was at the very bottom.

“I was screaming until I couldn’t anymore because the air was crushed out of my lungs. I remember telling myself, ‘Go up for air, go up for air,’ but I couldn’t move at all. It wasn’t painful being crushed, it was more painful not being able to breathe.

“I couldn’t move any limbs and my head was to the side facing down. There were legs next to me and I remember biting someone to try and get them to pull me up.

“I just remember going, ‘This is it, this is death. This is you dying.’ And then I blacked out.”

Maddy’s family say they weren’t immediately contacted by Falls Festival organisers following the crowd crush, despite leaving their phone numbers. Organisers have since been in contact with Maddy’s parents, but hadn’t offered her any compensation as of Tuesday, 10th January. Maddy’s recovery is expected to take up to three months.

Since Maddy’s story has come to light, Falls organisers have defended their handling of the situation, reiterating that they’ve been contacting anyone involved in the incident directly, and are offering them counselling services.

“There is a process in place whereby we have been directly contacting patrons who were involved in the incident. This process has been underway for some time, and there have been a large number of people who have been contacted to date, including Maddy’s mother,” organisers say.

“We are still working through this process and still contacting people.” Read Falls Festival’s full statement, below.

Worksafe Victoria is currently investigating the Falls Festival crowd crush, and while the organisation has two years to complete its work, it has told the ABC that most of its investigations take less than six months.

Following the stampede incident, a 19-year-old Victorian woman who was also injured described her experience to Music Feeds, saying, “It looked like a war zone, honestly. There was blood everywhere, the grass was stained with blood.”

“Devastated” Falls Festival organisers later apologised for the incident, and are now facing a possible class action lawsuit.

Music Feeds also obtained exclusive footage of the crowd crush incident, while another Falls Festival-goer has also spoken about hearing “bones snapping” during the accident.

Warning: Some Viewers May Find This Footage Distressing

Watch: Exclusive Video Of “Shocking” Falls Festival Stampede

Falls Festival Statement (Via Facebook)

We would like to clarify and update you all with regards to the Lorne incident and recent media reports. There is a process in place whereby we have been directly contacting patrons who were involved in the incident. This process has been underway for some time and there have been a large number of people who have been contacted to date, including Maddy’s mother. We are still working through this process and are still contacting people. We have asked those who we have contacted for information relating to their experience and involvement in the incident, so we can consider everything thoroughly and fairly. For the short term, we have given details for a 24 hour counselling service we have set up and we are ensuring these patrons have the relevant contacts they need for future communication and follow up, which we have made clear is open and available at any time. We are currently undertaking investigations into the incident. This process is ongoing, with various parties involved, and we are endeavouring to do this as quickly and as thoroughly as possible to be able to deal with all enquiries. We want to ensure the correct protocol is being followed so that all involved are given the depth of consideration they need to give them the chance to get the best possible outcome. We want to get this right, for the long term, so it is imperative that the correct procedures are followed.

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