Herdwick sheep stampeding in Cumbria.

A stampede is an act of mass impulse among herd animals or a crowd of people in which the herd (or crowd) collectively begins running with no clear direction or purpose.

Species associated with stampede behavior include cattle, elephants, Blue Wildebeests, wild horses, rhinoceros, and humans.


Cattle stampedes

Anything unusual may start a stampede. Especially at night, things such as lighting a match, someone jumping off a horse, a horse shaking itself, a lightning strike, a tumbleweed blown into the herd, or "a horse running through a herd kicking at a saddle which has turned under its belly" have been known to cause a stampede.[1] Cattle which have just fed, and are more spread out are also less likely to stampede.[1]

A large stampede will frequently eliminate anything in its path. With farmed animals, cowboys attempt to turn the moving herd into itself, so that it runs in circles rather than self-destructing by running over a cliff or into a river, or from damaging human life or property by overrunning human settlements. Tactics used to make the herd turn into itself include firing a pistol (i.e. using the noise) to make the leaders of the stampede turn.[1]

Cowboys will sometimes sing or whistle at night to reassure the herd. Those on watch at night will often be careful not to do things which may startle the herd, but to ride a distance away first (e.g. before dismounting a horse or lighting a match) so as not to cause a stampede.[2]

Human stampedes

Human stampedes most often occur during religious pilgrimages and professional sporting and music events, as these events tend to involve a large amount of people. They also often occur in times of mass panic, as a result of a fire or explosion, as people try to get away.


Deaths from human stampedes occur primarily from compressive asphyxiation, not trampling.[3] This is referred to as crowd crush.[4] The compressive force occurs from both horizontal pushing and vertical stacking.


The migration of about 100,000 would-be prospectors during the height of the Klondike Gold Rush towards Yukon District in Canada, 1897-1898, was refered to as "The Klondike Stampede".[5]

The annual Muslim Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, which is attended by millions of pilgrims, has increasingly suffered from stampedes, even as authorities have constructed new walkways and instituted other traffic controls to prevent them.

In India, stampedes occur regularly during Hindu religious holidays. Called "temple crushes" by the local press, they are often caused by railings giving way as pilgrims climb steep hills to reach a temple.[6]

The worst stampede in recorded history took place in Chongqing, China, during World War II. Japanese bombing of the city on June 6, 1941, triggered mass panic at an air raid shelter, killing approximately 4,000 people, most of them by suffocation.

In 1908, a stampede caused the death of 16 children at public hall in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. It became known as the Barnsley Public Hall Disaster.

A popularly quoted cause of stampedes is "Shouting fire in a crowded theater", which has occurred in such instances as the Italian Hall disaster.


It has been claimed that most major crowd disasters can be prevented by simple crowd management strategies.[3] Human stampedes can be prevented by organization and traffic control, such as barriers. On the other hand, barriers in some cases may funnel the crowd towards an already-packed area (e.g. Hillsborough disaster). Therefore, barriers could be a solution to prevent or the key factor to cause a stampede to happen. A key problem is lack of feedback from people being crushed to the crowd pressing behind – feedback can instead be provided by police, organizers, or other observers, particularly raised observers, such as on platforms or horseback, who can survey the crowd, and use loudspeakers to communicate and direct a crowd.[4]

At the individual level, warning signs of a crowd crush include density of more than four people per square meter, at which each person is being touched on four sides. To avoid or escape from a crowd crush, one is advised to move sideways, particularly between swells.[4]

After the stampede of Victoria Hall disaster in 1883 a law (still in force as of 2008) was passed in England which required all public entertainment venues to be equipped with doors that open outwards.[7] Crash bars are required by various building codes.

List of notable human stampedes

18th century

  • 11 October 1711: 245 people were killed in a stampede on the bridge of the Guillotière in Lyon. This was caused by the coach of Madame Servient being in the middle of the bridge while many people came back from a fest on the other side of the Rhône.

19th century

  • 10 October 1872: 19 women and children were killed in a stampede and resulting stairs collapse in a synagogue in Ostrów Wielkopolski during the fast of Yom Kippur. Failure of gas lighting engulfed a synagogue balcony (apparently, the women's gallery) in darkness, causing panic among the women.
  • December 5, 1876: Crushes on gallery and balcony staircases during the Brooklyn Theater Fire delayed the evacuation of the building, a contributing factor in the deaths of at least 278 individuals.[8]
  • May 30, 1883: 12 people were killed and dozens injured after a woman tripped on the stairway at the Brooklyn Bridge, which had been open for eight days at the time. The crush was exacerbated by fears the bridge was about to collapse. [9]
  • June 16, 1883: Over 180 out of 1,100 children died in the Victoria Hall disaster in Sunderland, England when they stampeded down the stairs to collect gifts from the entertainers after the end of a variety show.
  • May 18, 1896: 1,389 people were killed and 1,300 injured in the Khodynka Tragedy, a crush of those desiring to get presents during the coronation of Russian Tsar Nicholas II.

20th century

  • December 30, 1903: The Iroquois Theatre Fire in Chicago claimed the lives of 602 people, many of whom died of crush asphyxiation in the rush to escape.
  • January 11, 1908: 16 children were killed in the Barnsley Public Hall Disaster in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England
  • December 24, 1913: 73 people were crushed to death in the Italian Hall Disaster in Calumet, Michigan. This event is considered the legal source for the often-cited (and now overturned) First Amendment limitation of "falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater."
  • March 3, 1943: Bethnal Green 173 people were killed as people tried to get into an air-raid shelter at Bethnal Green underground station, east London. Anti-aircraft fire reportedly frightened the crowd, causing them to run for the shelter. When a woman carrying a baby tripped on the stairs, others fell over her, triggering the crush.[10]
  • March 9, 1946: 33 people were killed in the Burnden Park disaster when the collapse of two crash barriers in an overcrowded stand led to the crowd falling forward.
  • January 1, 1956: 124 people were killed during the New Year panic and stampede at Yahiko Shrine, Yahiko, central Niigata, Japan.
  • January 2, 1971: 66 people were killed in the Second Ibrox Disaster, when the collapse of stairway barriers led to a crush as fans were leaving the stadium.
  • December 3, 1979: 11 people were killed during a crush at a concert by The Who at Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati. The incident led to a reduced use of festival seating at US venues. The event was later referenced on an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati.
  • October 20, 1982: at least 66 people were killed in the Luzhniki disaster at the eponymous stadium in Moscow, then in the Soviet Union and now in Russia.
  • May 29, 1985: 39 people were killed in the Heysel Stadium disaster at Heysel Stadium in Brussels, Belgium.
  • August 20, 1988: 2 people were crushed to death during a Guns N' Roses concert at a Monsters of Rock festival at Donington Park, England. Lead singer Axl Rose shouted Don't fucking kill each other!.
  • April 15, 1989: 96 people were killed in the Hillsborough disaster at the eponymous football stadium in Sheffield, England.
  • July 2, 1990: A stampede inside a pedestrian tunnel (Al-Ma'aisim tunnel) leading out from Mecca towards Mina, Saudi Arabia and the Plains of Arafat led to the deaths of 1,426 pilgrims.
  • January 13, 1991: At least 40 people were killed at a football match in Orkney, South Africa.
  • February 13, 1991: 42 people were killed, 55 injured in Mexican Chalma sanctuary after being overwhelmed by a crowd trying to enter the temple to receive the signal from the ashes.
  • June 27, 1992: More than 500 people were injured in Munich, Germany when the crowd at pop singer Michael Jackson's debut Dangerous concert became overwhelmed and began rushing at the barriers causing several to have to be lifted from the crowd. Similar fainting and "over-whelmings" occurred at many of Jackson's shows.
  • January 1, 1993: 21 people were killed and 48 injured as a huge crowd celebrated the New Year's Day at Lan Kwai Fong of Hong Kong.
  • October 30, 1993: 73 student fans were injured, six critically, by a crowd crush shortly after a football game at the University of Wisconsin–Madison's Camp Randall Stadium.
  • May 23, 1994: 270 people were killed at Jamarat Bridge in Mecca during the stoning of the Devil.
  • November 23, 1994: more than 113 tribals mostly women and children perished in a disastrous stampede triggered by the cane wielding police who attempted to prevent the estimated crowd of 40,000 from pressing towards the Vidhan Bhavan at Nagpur in Maharashtra State of India.
  • October 16, 1996: 82 killed, 147 injured on a steep stadium stairway prior to a World Cup qualifying match between Guatemala and Costa Rica in the Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City.
  • March, 1998: 70 people were killed when fans at Nepal's national football stadium stampede for the exits during a hailstorm.
  • April 9, 1998: At least 118 Hajj pilgrims were trampled to death and 180 injured in an incident on Jamarat Bridge in Mecca.[11]
  • May 30, 1999: Niamiha disaster: 53 people died in a stampede at the Nemiga metro station in Minsk, Belarus.
  • June 30, 2000: The Roskilde Festival disaster, in which 9 people were crushed during a Pearl Jam concert at Roskilde Festival, Denmark.

21st century

  • March 5, 2001: Thirty five Hajj pilgrims were trampled to death in a stampede during the Stoning of the Devil ritual in Mina, Saudi Arabia.[12]
  • April 11, 2001: 43 people were crushed in the Ellis Park Stadium disaster in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • May 2001: 126 killed at a football match in Accra, Ghana after police fired tear gas at rioters.
  • December 21, 2001: 7 children, 10 to 14 years of age, were crushed to death due to a stampede on the stairway, leading to the entrance of a nightclub in Sofia, Bulgaria.[13]
  • February 11, 2003: The Stoning of the Devil ritual claimed 14 pilgrims' lives.[14]
  • February 17, 2003: 21 people were killed in the stairway exit to E2, a nightclub in Chicago, after a pepper spray use on an upper-story dance floor.
  • February 20, 2003: 100 killed in The Station nightclub fire, many of them trampled.
  • February 4, 2004: At least 37 people were dead with 15 were injured, when a crowd stampede, during Lantern Festival in Mihong Park, Miyun County, Beijing, China.[15]
  • February 1, 2004: 251 people were killed at Jamarat Bridge in Mecca during the stoning of the devil.
  • September 1, 2004: Three die in Saudi shop stampede.[16]
  • January 2005: 265 people were killed as Hindu pilgrims stampede near a remote temple in Maharashtra, India.
  • August 31, 2005: 1000 people were killed in a Baghdad bridge stampede
  • December 2005: 42 people were killed as flood relief supplies were handed out to homeless refugees in southern India.
  • January 12, 2006: 345 killed at Jamarat Bridge in Mecca during the stoning of the devil.
  • February 4, 2006: 78 people were killed in the PhilSports Arena stampede in the Philippines. The place was the location of the first year anniversary of ABS-CBN's Wowowee.
  • September 12, 2006: 51 killed and more than 200 injured at a stampede in Ibb Governorate, Yemen.[17]
  • June 2, 2007: 12 people were killed during a stampede at the end of a football game between Zambia and Republic of Congo in Chililabombwe, Zambia.[18]
  • October 3, 2007: At least 14 women were crushed to death at a train station in northern India.[19]
  • October 5, 2007: After a crowd of 15,000 watched a public execution in a stadium in Sunch’ŏn, North Korea, 6 people were crushed to death and 34 injured.[20]
  • November 11, 2007: 3 people were killed and more than 30 injured at the Supermarket Carrefour in Chongqing, China when the shop was offering 20% discounts on cooking oil.[21]
  • March 27, 2008: 8 people were killed and 10 injured at an Indian temple crush during a pilgrimage.[22]
  • June 20, 2008: At least 12 people were killed and 13 injured at a Mexico City nightclub stampede during a police raid.[23]
  • August 3, 2008: At least 162 people were killed and 47 injured in a stampede at the Naina Devi temple in Himachal Pradesh in mountainous northern India after a rain shelter collapsed, which worshipers mistakenly took to be a landslide.
  • September 14, 2008: At least 11 people were killed when a riot was dispersed by tear gas during a football match in Butembo, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • September 30, 2008: 147 people were killed during the Chamunda Devi stampede at the Chamunda Devi temple in Jodhpur, India. The tragedy may have been triggered by a rumor that a bomb was planted in the temple complex.[24] Local authorities, however, blamed steep, slippery slopes leading to the temple.[6][25]
  • October 2, 2008: About 20 children died in a stampede in an overcrowded children's dance hall in Tanzania.[26]
  • November 28, 2008: Jdimytai Damour died and at least four were injured when a stampede of shoppers broke down the door of a Wal-Mart in Valley Stream, New York, just before the store opened for its Black Friday sales. [27]
  • March 29, 2009: The Houphouët-Boigny Arena stampede. 19 people killed and 130 injured in a stampede at a football stadium in Ivory Coast as fans try to squeeze into the stadium for a World Cup qualifier.[28]
  • March 4, 2010: At least 71 killed and over 200 injured at Ram Janki Temple, in Kunda, India, in a stampede after the gates of the temple collapsed.
  • May 4, 2010: 63 people were injured when a panic-driven stampede broke out during the Remembrance of the Dead ceremony on Dam Square, Amsterdam.
  • June 6, 2010: 14 people were injured when fans rushed to get inside Makulong Stadium after free tickets were given out to a friendly soccer match between Nigeria and North Korea.
  • July 24, 2010: The Love Parade disaster, in which 21 people were killed and more than 500 were injured during a mass panic at the Love Parade in Duisburg, Germany.[29]
  • November 22, 2010: A stampede during a water festival near Cambodia's royal palace in Phnom Penh killed at least 347 people.
  • January 15, 2011: 102 people died and 100 were injured during a stampede near Sabarimala temple in Kerala State of Southern India.
  • January 15, 2011: 3 girls died, 14 people injured in a panic-driven stampede in a Budapest discotheque during a party.[30]
  • November 8, 2011 - 16 people were killed at Haridwar, India during a religious ceremony in the banks of Ganges river.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Fay E. Ward, The cowboy at work, Courier Dover Publications, 2003, ISBN 0486426998 p. 28
  2. ^ Fay E. Ward, The cowboy at work, Courier Dover Publications, 2003, ISBN 0486426998 p. 31
  3. ^ a b Fruin, John. The Causes and Prevention of Crowd Disasters. Retrieved November 22, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c How Not To Get Trampled at the Inauguration: Don't go with the flow. By Amanda Ripley, Monday, Jan. 19, 2009
  5. ^ Adney, Tappan (1994). The Klondike Stampede. University of British Columbia Press. ISBN 0774804890. 
  6. ^ a b Rhys Blakely (September 30, 2008). "India temple stampede kills 110". The Times of London. Retrieved 2008-09-30. "Temple crushes are common in India." 
  7. ^ Sarah Stoner (2008). "Children's deaths that shocked the world". Sunderland Echo. Retrieved 13 June 2008. 
  8. ^ 'The Class of People who Go To The Gallery' "Special Report of the Fire Marshall" in Papers Relating to the Burning Down of the Brooklyn Theatre British House of Commons London: 1877. page 15
  9. ^ Dead On The New Bridge – Fatal Crush At The Western Approach. – Front Page – Nytimes.Com. New York Times (2011-01-02). Retrieved on 2011-01-19.
  10. ^ "Lack of information can turn a passive crowd into a stampede". The Guardian (London). February 18, 2003. Retrieved May 24, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Saudis identifying nationalities of 118 dead pilgrims". BBC News. April 9, 1998. 
  12. ^ Lessons from Hajj deaths at BBC News - 6 March 2001
  13. ^ На 21.12.2001 г. при нещастен случай в столичната дискотека "Индиго" загиват 7 деца. (2001-12-21). Retrieved on 2011-01-19.
  14. ^ "Fourteen killed in Hajj stampede". BBC News. February 11, 2003. 
  15. ^ China Daily: 37 killed in Beijing lantern festival stampede. 2004-02-06
  16. ^ "Three die in Saudi shop stampede". BBC News. September 1, 2004. Retrieved May 24, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Deadly stampede at Yemeni rally". BBC News. September 12, 2006. Retrieved May 24, 2010. 
  18. ^ At least 12 people were crushed to death in Zambia after an African Cup qualifier win over Republic of Congo – International Herald Tribune
  19. ^ "Women die in India train stampede". BBC News. October 3, 2007. Retrieved May 24, 2010. 
  20. ^ "순천 돌 가공 공장 지배인 공개 처형 [Public Execution Carried Out on a Stone Processing Plant Manager in Soonchun]" (in Korean) (PDF). 오늘의 북한소식. Seoul: 사단법인 좋은벗들 북한연구소. October 17, 2007. pp. 7–8. Retrieved September 7, 2011. "워낙 많은 군중이 모이다보니 처형이 끝나고 흩어지면서 사람들에 깔려 6명이 사망하고, 34명이 다치는 사고가 일어났다." 
  21. ^ "Three die in China sale stampede". BBC News. November 10, 2007. Retrieved May 24, 2010. 
  22. ^ BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | India temple stampede kills eight
  23. ^ Mexico City nightclubbers stampede during police raid; at least 12 dead – L.A. Times
  24. ^ "Yoll rises in Chamunda Devi stampede; 80 dead". September 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  25. ^ Dey, Anindo; Parmar, Ajay (September 30, 2008). "177 feared dead in temple stampede in Jodhpur". Times of India. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  26. ^ 20 children die in Tanzania stampede – The Times of India. (2008-10-02). Retrieved on 2011-01-19.
  27. ^ Dolmetsch, Chris. (2008-11-28) Wal-Mart Worker Dies in Stampede at New York Store (Update3). Bloomberg. Retrieved on 2011-01-19.
  28. ^ Ivorian stadium stampede kills 22. BBC News (2009-03-29). Retrieved on 2011-01-19.
  29. ^ Authorities blame organizer for deadly Love Parade Yahoo News. 28 July 2010
  30. ^ Index – Bulvár – Tragédia a West Balkánban: öten őrizetben. Retrieved on 2011-01-19.

External links

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(as of horses from fright)

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Stampede — Stam*pede (st[a^]m*p[=e]d ), n. [Sp. estampida (in America) a stampede, estampido a crackling, akin to estampar to stamp, of German origin. See {Stamp}, v. t.] 1. A wild, headlong scamper, or running away, of a number of animals; usually caused… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Stampede — Álbum de Hellyeah Publicación 13 de julio de 2010 Grabación 2009 Género(s) Heavy metal Hard rock Southern rock …   Wikipedia Español

  • stampede — ☆ stampede [stam pēd′ ] n. [AmSp estampida < Sp, a crash, uproar < estampar, to stamp < Gmc * stampjan,STAMP] 1. a sudden, headlong running away of a group of frightened animals, esp. horses or cattle 2. a confused, headlong rush or… …   English World dictionary

  • stampede — ► NOUN 1) a sudden panicked rush of a number of horses, cattle, etc. 2) a sudden rapid movement or reaction of a mass of people due to interest or panic. ► VERB ▪ take part or cause to take part in a stampede. DERIVATIVES stampeder noun. ORIGIN… …   English terms dictionary

  • Stampede — Stam*pede (st[a^]m*p[=e]d ), v. i. To run away in a panic; said of droves of cattle, horses, etc., also of armies. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Stampede — Stam*pede , v. t. To disperse by causing sudden fright, as a herd or drove of animals. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • stampede — index panic Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • stampede — (n.) 1828, from Mex.Sp. estampida, from Sp., an uproar, from estamper to stamp, press, pound, from the same Germanic root that yielded English STAMP (Cf. stamp) (v.). The verb is from 1823. Related: Stampeded; stampeding. The political sense is… …   Etymology dictionary

  • stampede — [n] rush of animals charge, chase, crash, dash, flight, fling, hurry, panic, rout, run, scattering, shoot, smash, tear; concept 152 …   New thesaurus

  • stampede — I UK [stæmˈpiːd] / US [ˌstæmˈpɪd] verb Word forms stampede : present tense I/you/we/they stampede he/she/it stampedes present participle stampeding past tense stampeded past participle stampeded 1) [intransitive/transitive] if a group of animals… …   English dictionary

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