Rome (AFP) – A woman left in a coma after a crowd stampeded in Turin at a screening of the Champions League final on June 3 died overnight, the hospital where she was being treated said.
Erika Pioletti, 38, who had come to watch the match with her boyfriend, was among more than 1,500 people injured in a mass panic caused by a bomb scare that was triggered by fireworks being let off.
According to Italian media, Pioletti was crushed so badly that she suffered cardiac arrest. Her heart only restarted after 40 minutes of cardiac massage by a fireman and a policeman and she had never regained consciousness.
“Any words would be superfluous, I express all my condolences for Erika’s death,” Turin mayor Chiara Appendino wrote on Twitter.
The northern city’s flags were flown at half-mast Friday and a day of mourning has been announced to coincide with Erika’s funeral.
Around 30,000 people had assembled in Turin’s San Carlo square on a balmy Saturday night to watch home favourites Juventus play Real Madrid in Cardiff.
AFP reporters who witnessed the stampede said the panic seemed to have been triggered by loud bangs from the fireworks followed by people shouting that a bomb had exploded.
The rumour quickly filtered through the crowd and started a panicked rush to get off the square. Most of the injuries were minor cuts and bruises but several people had to be taken to intensive care.
On the night, the greatest fear was for seven-year-old Kelvin Liu, an Italian-Chinese boy who was left in a coma with severe chest injuries after being trampled.
He has however made a full recovery and was visited this week by Juventus staff, who presented him Paulo Dybala’s final match shirt and organised a phone call with the club’s Argentine star.
Two other people are still in hospital in serious but stable condition: a 63-year-old woman knocked over by the crowd and a 26-year-old woman who left a hospital resuscitation unit on Thursday.
The mass panic underlined the impact recent acts of terror are having on a jittery public across Europe but there have also been recriminations over whether the local authorities had organised adequate stewarding for such a big event.
“It was very disorganised, there were unauthorised vendors everywhere, everyone could come in without any control, there were bottles all over the place,” Erika’s partner, Fabio Martinoli, told La Repubblica. “They could just have shown the match in the stadium, like they do in Spain.”