Madrid Arena ticket count shows venue was double capacity

Counting resumes on Wednesday with judge and homicide dectectives Lawyer for victim's family says the final tally could reach well over 18,000

F. Javier Barroso

A recount Friday of the tickets sold to the Halloween electronic music event that was held at Madrid Arena shows that the venue could have easily been double the capacity allowed by law.

Along with homicide detectives and other court officials, Judge Eduardo López Palop has counted halfway through the eight boxes that hold the used tickets, finding 9,257 stubs.

Madrid Arena has an official capacity of 10,300 people, but event organizer Miguel Ángel Flores, who is under investigation for the crush at the event that claimed four lives, said that only 9,650 tickets were sold.

“The number of tickets could reach 18,500,” said Abdon Núñez, a lawyer for the family of Belén Langdon, one of the four girls who died after being crushed by a stampede of concert-goers.

The recount will continue on Wednesday at the main headquarters of the police in Madrid.

Independently, an investigation by a special committee empaneled by the Madrid city government has gotten off to a rocky start. Mayor Ana Botella on Thursday blocked a petition by Socialists and other opposition parties to call a host of officials to testify, including the mayor herself. Members also wanted to call the government’s delegate in Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes, who said earlier this week that the National Police were not responsible for crowd control at the venue.

Judge López Palop called in homicide detectives in the case but no murder charges have so far been filed against Flores or any other defendant named in the official court investigation. Prosecutors have asked that at least seven people should be charged with negligent homicide.

The four girls died from injuries caused during a stampede when someone reportedly threw a flare. A fifth girl remains hospitalized.

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