A dozen people were injured, five of them hospitalized, after a holiday giveaway descended into chaos and triggered a small stampede inside a Sydney mall.
A huge crowd of people eager for a chance to snag a prize gathered at the center of the Westfield Parramatta around midnight on Christmas Eve for an event called the “ultimate mega balloon drop.”
“They were at that location to grab balloons as they were released and apparently the balloons had small gifts inside,” a New South Wales Police spokesman told the Guardian.
Inspector Phil Templeman said an over-zealousness among participants “caused a stampede of people to hustle for the prizes."
Paramedics treated 12 shoppers on the scene and five people were taken to the hospital. Three of those victims had more serious injuries, “including traumatic chest injuries, neck and back pain as well as nausea and dizziness,” authorities said.
Related: Twitter reacts to Peloton holiday ad
Twitter reacts to Peloton holiday ad
Twitter reacts to Peloton holiday ad
Sorry to shake things up but I'm excited to announce I'm throwing my hat in the ring and joining the presidential r… https://t.co/RDEqkrOOiS
The only comment I have on that Peloton ad is that there's no way that child is vaccinated
I hope the Peloton wife leaves her husband and takes their daughter and falls in love with the Mandalorian and they… https://t.co/g8YaOyOcsI
No offense to the Peloton lady but if your Christmas gift to me is just a video of you using the Christmas gift I g… https://t.co/ugSvK3iJEH
🎶 Take me down to the Peloton city where the wives are lean and the men are shitty 🎶
Peloton Moms are gonna take over Instagram in 2020, the post Christmas thirst traps are gonna be out of control
All I want for Christmas is a Peloton bike in a multi-million dollar house with 35 foot windows, two brand new Lexu… https://t.co/AuUpM9wxTS
The only way to enjoy that Peloton ad is to think of it as the first minute of an episode of Black Mirror
I’m gonna marry the peloton wife and let her do whatever she wants and bake her garlic bread every night and give her scarves for Christmas
I want a peloton for Christmas just so I can record myself riding it every morning and post it on twitter to annoy you all
the lady in the peloton ad is already toned and fit in the "before" part, making it very hard to believe she would… https://t.co/QOyRI4S77m
Wait hold on. The Peloton commercial is a guy giving his wife a bike, and she filmed herself using the bike (and… https://t.co/Zfr5ufI6jy
Look I don’t want to be “The Peloton Ad Guy” anymore but the newest commercial about the vlogging 116 lb woman’s YE… https://t.co/ByCYF7eMQU
Another reason to hate the Peloton ad is the daughter looks to be idk 10? And the couple looks idk 28? and they hav… https://t.co/JjPHX467ah
Marty Scorsese spent years developing The Irishman, spent the press tour bitching about Marvel movies, and gets ups… https://t.co/YWeo7LK8SV
tal bachman's "she's so high" was a late '90s gem and i resent that it's being brought back to us in the form of the bad peloton ad
The pretentious Peloton ad is just another reason why millennials are cutting the chord and why Gen Z’ers don’t con… https://t.co/mAPUjjA3De
So here's the weird thing about Peloton. They, like all modern startups, have yet to turn a profit. Their ads are a… https://t.co/5R8eeUKHZc
That Peloton ad is way more palatable if you imagine it’s actually a commercial for a divorce attorney
Does anyone else utterly hate that Peloton ad?
Yay girl who weighs 130 lb gets bike & imagines it's going to chang… https://t.co/vlYW6awh84
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Videos shared online show the chaos unfold from multiple angles. Scores of people can be seen falling to the ground while others lurch back and forth in a bid to keep their balance. The clips also see people on the outskirts of the crowd topple into a nearby holiday display as the balloons – some with as little as $5 vouchers inside – fall from the sky, Nine New Melbourne reported.
“It definitely could have been potentially critical for a small child who was trampled by a number of adults,” Templeman said, noting it was fortunate that was not the case and that no one was more seriously injured.
The Scentre Group, which owns the shopping center, said its staff acted quickly to contain the balloon drop, which had been advertised as part of a 33-hour shopping marathon.
“Our team are continuing to speak with affected customers directly,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
“We will continue to look into the circumstances surrounding last night’s incident.”