ROME — At least six people died and about 40 others were injured, more than a dozen of them seriously, in a stampede early Saturday at a nightclub in central Italy where a popular rapper was scheduled to perform, officials said.
Panic broke out after midnight at the Lanterna Azzurra club in Corinaldo, a town near the city of Senigallia on the Adriatic coast. One unidentified witness interviewed by RAI News, the national news channel, said that pepper spray had been fired inside the club, setting off panic. But investigators did not confirm that.
Italian news media showed images of dozens of ambulances outside the club and rescue workers tending to survivors. Officials said 14 people had been hospitalized in serious condition.
Cristian Carrozza, provincial commander for the carabinieri, Italy’s military police, told RAI that about 1,000 people had been in the club at the time of the stampede. Investigators were interviewing witnesses to determine the cause of the incident, he said.
Oreste Capocasa, police chief of the nearby city of Ancona, told RAI that many people had been hurt when metal railings on a ramp outside one of the emergency exits collapsed. People tumbled off the ramp, and others fell on top of them, he said. Early reports from Italian news media had indicated that one or more of the emergency exits had been blocked, but Mr. Capocasa said that was not the case.
Reports said that five of the people killed were minors, and that another was the mother of one of the young fans who had gone to the club to hear a concert by Sfera Ebbasta, a popular Italian rapper.
Luca Cari, a spokesman for the national fire department who was at the scene, said by phone that the situation had been “dramatic” and that it was still unclear how the events had unfolded. Officials were working “to understand what set off the panic,” he added.