Love Parade Tragedy, Duisburg

From news reports:

Police warnings about the dangers of holding the Love Parade in the German city of Duisburg were not heeded, the police union chief said, with the nation in shock over 19 [now 21] deaths in a stampede at the event. They died when panic broke out at the techno music festival on Saturday, July 24, in the western city near to the Dutch border. Many Germans were baffled that such a tragedy could occur in their highly organised and closely regulated country.

SPIEGEL ONLINE has reconstructed the grotesque aftermath of the event in which 21 people were killed and over 500 injured, crushed and trampled because the single entrance to the Love Parade, through a tunnel, turned into a lethal bottleneck and authorities had drastically underestimated the number of visitors.

The event occured while I and many professional researchers were in Paris for the 53rd annual meeting of the Parapsychological Association. Matthias Braeunig, a colleague from Germany, turned to me and said "here is a global event which he was just learning about via mobil phone. The GCP event was set for 6 hours beginning at the time Matthias provided, 5:30 local. (15:30-21:30 UTC). The result is Chisquare 22053.074 on 21600 df, for p = 0.015 and Z = 2.168.

Love Parade
Tragedy, Duisburg

It is important to keep in mind that we have only a tiny statistical effect, so that it is always hard to distinguish signal from noise. This means that every "success" might be largely driven by chance, and every "null" might include a real signal overwhelmed by noise. In the long run, a real effect can be identified only by patiently accumulating replications of similar analyses.

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