NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — A loud noise sparked a panic at the politically charged Global Citizen Festival on Saturday night after some concertgoers attributed the sound to a gunshot.
Video captured of the incident, which occurred at approximately 7:30 p.m., appear to show a near-stampede as people fled from the area after the sound.
Scary moment at the #GlobalCitizen Festival in NYC, live on @MSNBC: A fence barrier collapsed, the noise was startling, some attendees thought it sounded like gunshots, and there was a stampede. MSNBC cut to commercial, then came back and explained what happened. pic.twitter.com/SumPbM6GC5
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) September 30, 2018
However, the New York Police Department quickly dispelled reports of a shooting via social media, attributing the sound first to a toppled security barrier and then to a plastic soda bottle that someone stepped on.
According to the New York Times, this was later confirmed by a spokesman for the police department.
One concertgoer interviewed on MSNBC shortly after the incident said: “All we saw was a mass of people running. Like a wave of people coming in this direction. My daughter’s screaming at me to run.”
Festival chief executive Hugh Evans later reported that “several dozen” people received minor injuries during the moment of panic.
In a statement posted to the festival’s website, he wrote:
Dear Global Citizens,
I want to personally write to you to explain the incident that occurred at yesterday’s Global Citizen Festival and sincerely apologize to all of those who were affected by last night’s incident.
Since last evening, we have been working with NYPD, and they have advised us of the following:
In the 7 o’clock hour yesterday evening, some attendees heard a loud noise causing significant alarm to those attendees who believed it sounded like gunshots. Upon hearing the noise, some attendees moved to swiftly exit the Park, and some were injured in the process. NYPD quickly determined that the noise was not gunshots, made an announcement on stage, and worked alongside FDNY, event security, and Global Citizen to ensure public safety.
While NYPD originally advised that a fallen security barrier caused the noise, NYPD informed us today that it was the sound of an attendee(s) stepping on and popping a drink bottle(s). Once NYPD and FDNY determined that the situation was safe, and security infrastructure was established for re-entry, attendees were permitted to re-enter the event through select entrances, and the Festival resumed.
Unfortunately, while every effort was made to quickly re-open the gates, we regret some attendees were unable to re-enter the Park, and for that, we apologize.
We would like to thank the NYPD, FDNY and security officials for acting quickly to respond to the incident, restore calm, and ensure attendees were safe.
A few dozen people reported injuries and sought treatment for injuries sustained as they were moving away from the area. To those who were injured or frightened by this experience, we sincerely apologize. We recognize how traumatic this was for many of you.
The main priority of the Global Citizen organization is to maintain a safe and secure environment for individuals to come together in our collective effort to end extreme poverty.
To those who are searching for lost property, please go to NYPD’s Central Park Precinct on the 86th Street Transverse Road between 5th Ave & Central Park West.
If you have any concerns or questions about last night’s event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome and appreciate your feedback.
We regret that this incident marred an otherwise impactful event. In the run-up to the Festival, Global Citizens took 2.1 million actions, which resulted in 37 commitments and announcements totaling $7.75 billion, which are set to affect the lives of 254 million people by 2030.
We are immensely grateful to all Global Citizens for continuing to raise your voices on behalf of the world’s poor and hope that you will continue to be a part of our movement and join us at future events and Festivals.
Hugh and the Global Citizen team