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3 die in Halloween stampede in Spain

MADRID — A stampede in an arena where thousands of people were attending a Halloween dance party killed three women and critically injured two others early Thursday, officials said.

It happened just after 4 a.m. in a passageway within the venue leading to the central concert area at Madrid Arena, where the disco-style party with American DJ Steve Aoki was under way.

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Someone set off a flare or a firework, causing the stampede that trampled the five young women, Deputy Mayor Miguel Angel Villanueva said.

One witness said the stampede left partygoers piled atop one another as high as her shoulders.

‘‘I saw a mass of people screaming ‘Help, get me out of here,’ with security guards tugging at them,’’ Ana Gomez told state broadcaster TVE.

‘‘I remember seeing the face of one young man, and his expression was that of sheer terror.’’

Thousands of people were attending the party when the stampede occurred, leaving the victims with trauma injuries or lung and heart failure, emergency services spokesman Fernando Prado said.

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