Students were screaming, young women were slipping over in high heels and the crowd was "shoving and pushing" for the exit after the floor collapsed at a Canterbury University hip-hop concert in Christchurch.
The concert was abandoned on Friday night after part of the floor gave way at the university's new temporary events centre.
Concert-goer and finance student Hayden Strickett, 21, said he could feel the floor "slipping, and then we literally just went through it".
"A lot of the girls were freaking out, a few people were screaming and then everyone started running for the doors. Everyone was pushing and shoving to get out really fast."
Strickett was in the mosh pit at the time of the collapse and believed the floor dropped nearly a metre.
It happened about 10 seconds into hip-hop artist Savage's first song, he said. "Everyone got really excited and people were jumping and stomping and the floor was bouncing underneath us and then it just dropped."
Savage did not say anything for 10 seconds and then started a "chilled-out song" to try to calm the crowd, as security staff moved everyone from the building, he said.
The concert, The Perfect Storm, was held at the university's new $2.5 million temporary events centre.
A university spokesman said about 900 people were in the building at the time, well below its capacity of 1400.
Structural engineers will investigate the collapse today.
Another concert-goer, Rico Mannall, 21, said some people were screaming and others were laughing after the collapse. "Girls in heels were slipping over, the lights and speakers fell on a 45-degree lean toward the crowd and a lot of people were screaming - some out of fear but most from excitement," the media and marketing student said.
"Everyone was just saying, ‘Wow. How did the floor break on a new building?' Nobody expected it, that's for sure."
Christchurch architecture firm Warren and Mahoney designed the temporary events centre and said it was not to blame.
Executive director Peter Marshall said he was shocked to learn of the collapse, but said the firm was responsible only for the concept of the events centre and overseeing the project. "The actual design and construction of the centre, the structure and the shell and the floor, was not done by us."
The centre opened in April after the university's student bar was damaged in the February 2011 earthquake.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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