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Shoppers 'crushed' as Christmas balloon giveaway goes wrong in crowd stampede; Shoppers were injured in 'stampede' when the crowd surged as punters jostled to grab balloons containing Christmas prizes at an Australian shopping centre.

Byline: By, Talia Shadwell

A Christmas giveaway gone wrong at a shopping centre in Australia caused a dangerous 'stampede' as shoppers rushed to grab balloons laden with prizes.

'Crushed' shoppers reportedly had to be taken to hospital after the balloon giveaway at the Westfield Parramatta shopping centre in Sydney on Monday night, local-tim.

The balloons filled with prizes were released over the hordes of Christmas shoppers, causing a crowd surge captured on camera that injured more than a dozen.

Footage from the scene shows people thrown onto the ground and screaming, as the crowd pushes and shoves to get a hold of the floating loot, reports 9 News.

New South Wales authorities said 12 people were treated at the scene, and five more had to be taken to hospital following the incident.

A spokesman for NSW police said: "They were at that location to grab balloons as they were released and apparently the balloons had small gifts inside."

Inspector Phil Templeman said in a statement emergency services were responding to reports that the balloon drop "caused a stamped of people to hustle for the prizes".

Three of the patients taken to hospital had serious injuries, including chest trauma, neck and back pain as well as nausea and dizziness.

He added it was "incredibly lucky" that no one was more seriously injured.

In a statement to Australian media, the shopping centre's management Scentre Group said customer safety was its "priority."

"Our team acted swiftly to support our customers, contact emergency services and make the area safe," the statement said.

"Our team are continuing to speak with affected customers directly."We will continue to look into the circumstances surrounding last night's incident."

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Title Annotation:World news
Author:By, Talia Shadwell
Publication:Daily Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Dec 24, 2019
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