Folks who were celebrating New Year’s Eve in the Melbourne CBD have spoken about a truly fucking scary crowd crush in the Elizabeth Street pedestrian underpass.
Nothing like reports of poor crowd management at a popular New Year’s Eve event to bring in the new year.
Per the Guardian, about 475,000 Melburnians headed to the city centre to bring in 2023. But for a group of them, shit hit the fan when they were reportedly directed into the Elizabeth Street tunnel ‘cos part of Flinders Street had been closed off.
One reveller took to a thread in r/melbourne to share their “terrifying experience” of being “totally wedged” inside the tunnel at about 11.40pm.
“We’re walking through the tunnel but it was insanely busy — you’re packed in basically touching people on all sides,” they wrote.
“We decided ‘fuck this’ and to exit out the way we came, except we couldn’t. Roughly another hundred people had been pushed in directly behind us.
“So we’re walking forward a few metres at a time and the tunnel is getting hotter and hotter, people are sweating, you’re aware that people are starting to press into you from every side.
“Then the line at the front came to a complete stop. So we are all stuck inside the tunnel, people are pressing against you from every direction, the force of the crowd had already separated me from my friends and none of us could move forward or back.”
They said they were near the front of the crowd and felt folks behind them starting to push.
“The push would move us all forward like a few metres and then stop again,” they wrote.
“This would happen every minute but the pressure at the front was just getting more packed — you literally couldn’t move in any direction.
“By 11.55pm I was totally wedged in near the front. People near me started to cry, some were being pressed full body against the walls, people were shouting to move either forward or back, but literally none of us could move. It was getting hotter and hotter and tighter and tighter.
“The fireworks were about to go off and no one cared at this point — we all just wanted to get out and be safe. But my fear was that once the loud banging started that people would scream more and push more. All I could think is to not fall over, but in [a] crush you can still suffocate standing upright.”
The Redditor said they were eventually pushed towards a platform exit, which allowed them to escape the tunnel.
Another Redditor said they were in the Elizabeth Street pedestrian underpass at 11.30pm walking from Flinders Street towards South Bank when they tried travelling up the escalator, but was told “there would be no exit and to turn around and go back into [the] crush”.
A third said they had “never felt so unsafe” as they did in the tunnel and questioned why it was kept open.
“Allowing people into such a small place where it would’ve been ridiculously hot and densely packed is poor planning,” they wrote.
A City of Melbourne spokesperson told the Guardian it was aware of the incident and said the “Elizabeth Street underpass will definitely be looked at”.
It’s absolutely petrifying, especially after the tragic crowd crush in Seoul in October, which left one Australia and at least 152 others dead.