17 dead after Venezuela nightclub stampede

Officials say the stampede was came after a tear gas canister was set off inside the building

17 dead after Venezuela nightclub stampede

Barbara Barca, right, a survivor of the stampede at a crowded nightclub cries as she leaves police headquarters in Caracas, Venezuela, 16-06-2018. Image: Ariana Cubillos/AP/Press Association Images

Seventeen people have been killed in a Venezuelan nightclub following a stampede triggered by a tear gas canister exploding inside, said officials.

Eight youngsters were among the dead in the tragedy which happened during a graduation celebration in the country's capital Caracas.

Some of the victims were reported to have suffocated.

More than 500 people were believed to be inside the Los Cotorros venue when a fight broke out, leading to the device being let off.

Two teenagers, believed to be responsible for setting it off, have been detained along with six other people.

People wait outside police headquarters following a stampede at a crowded nightclub that left 17 people dead, 16-06-2018. Image: Ariana Cubillos/AP/Press Association Images

Julio Cesar Perdomo said his injured son had told him the tear gas came from inside a bathroom and partygoers tried to flee but found the club's door closed.

"The kids couldn't leave," Mr Perdomo said.

Officials have not confirmed or denied the claim.

One of those who lost their child was Nilson Guerra who told reporters: "All I know is my son is dead."

Meanwhile, Haide Berrio, whose 17-year-old nephew was killed, said she had gone to try and find him after hearing about the commotion at the club and knowing that he was attending the party.

Relatives of the boy found him among the dead and said he was killed by asphyxia.
"I am asking for justice," she said.

Local councillor, Jesus Armas, said the interior ministry should explain how a civilian was able to get hold of tear gas canisters which only security forces should have.

She also urged officials to investigate whether the club had permission to hold several hundred people inside.

"That's not a big space and that should not be authorised," he said.