Three people are fighting for their lives and five others hospitalised after a suspected crush at a concert in south London.
Police have launched an urgent investigation into what happened at Brixton O2 Academy in south London after receiving reports a large number of people were attempting to force entry.
Emergency services rushed to the scene and found a number of people with “injuries believed to have been caushed by crushing” on Thursday night.
Footage on social media showed huge crowds building up outside the venue and clashes with police.
The concert by Nigerian Afrobeats artist Asake was cancelled over the incident.
Have you been affected by this incident? Please contact email@example.com
In a statement outside Brixton police station on Friday afternoon, Commander Colin Wingrove said an “urgent investigation” was underway.
Three people were in a critical condition in hospital, he said, down from four reported earlier in the day.
One person has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer, he said.
A separate incident in which an officer was “apparently seen to push a member of the public” is currently under review by the force’s director of professional standards, the investigating officer added.
The Metropolitan Police said it was called to the venue on Stockwell Road at around 9.35pm following reports crowds were trying to force entry.
Eight people were taken to hospital, the Met said, with two others with less serious injuries treated by the ambulance service at the scene.
One woman who was hospitalised with suspected internal bleeding told the BBC the following day: “I couldn’t breathe and I completely passed out. I thought I was dead.”
She added: “I took my last breath and I could not get any more oxygen. I was so scared.”
Asake wrote on social media on Friday: “My heart is with those who were injured last night and caused any form of discomfort. I pray you get well soonest. I am also in the process of reaching out to individuals.
“I still do not have the full brief from the venue management themselves as to what led to the disruption at the entrance of the Brixton Academy, but we are thankful that all was peaceful at the end.
“For my people who enjoyed the beginning of my performance, I am sorry that it was cut short.”
A clip – believed to be from the concert last night – showed the singer and songwriter on stage saying he had to end his show because outside was “f****d up”. “”I don’t know why. It’s not me,” he said.
One woman who was at the O2 Academy in Brixton for the gig told The Independent: “The host came on stage to tell the crowd that the entrance had been breached and we had to leave via the side exits.”
“Whilst attempting to leave I saw people running inside the venue [and] people fighting.”
She added: “I also saw someone being resuscitated right in front of the main entrance as the police were guiding us out of the venue.”
Anna, a 21-year-old who lives next to the O2, told The Independent she watched the scene unfold from her window. There are usually big crowds that gather around the concert venue, but this one looked bigger, she said.
She noticed broken glass on the windows of the venue, as well as police and ambulances coming to the scene.
“I saw some smaller fights break out but nothing that looked super serious or violent,” she said, adding: “I saw people scatter and run at one point but I couldn’t tell what it was.”
John, who lives next to the O2, said: “I saw everyone at the front door of Brixton Academy [then] everything just stopped.
“It looked like the gig had been cancelled, and then some commotion, some pushing and shoving, and the police came shortly after. That’s when it kicked off and became aggressive.”
The 32-year-old added: “People at the front of the Brixton Academy were really pushing and shoving and trying to break through the door and force their way in. The glass of the doors was broken.”
No arrests had been made as of early Friday morning. Detectives have launched an urgent investigation and cordons remained in place around the O2 Academy in Brixton.
“This is an extremely upsetting incident which has left four people critically ill in hospital,” Ade Adelekan, a Met Police gold commander, said. “My thoughts and prayers are with them and their families.”
He said: “A police investigation has been launched, and it will be as thorough and as forensic as necessary to establish exactly what happened last night.
“The scene will be examined by specialist officers, CCTV will be viewed, every witness that we can make contact with will be spoken to and all other lines of enquiry will be followed.”
Video posted online showed large crowds outside the building, with many people holding aloft mobile phones and filming the scene.
In other video content, the crowd inside the venue can be heard booing when an announcement was made from the stage saying the show was being closed.
Mr Adelekan added: “I am aware of video being shared on social media. I would ask people to be sensible about what they share, and not to post material that will be upsetting to those affected by this incident.
“Where force has been used by police officers, those officers know they have to be accountable for their actions. The Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards will view all material, including Body Worn Video footage from the officers at the scene.
“In relation to a clip being widely shared, I can confirm that no police dogs were deployed to the location.”
Any witnesses who are yet to speak with police are asked to call 101 ref 6725/15Dec. Anyone with mobile phone footage that may assist police, are also asked to contact @MetCC on Twitter.
Additional reporting by Press Association