Updated | Six minors among those injured in Paceville incident

74 youths injured, 13-year-old remains in critical condition after glass banister collapses in Paceville club

The scene of the accident at the PlusOne club in Paceville • Photos: Chris Mangion/Mediatoday
The scene of the accident at the PlusOne club in Paceville • Photos: Chris Mangion/Mediatoday

Six minors aged under 16 were among 74 youths who were injured after a glass banister at the PlusOne club in Paceville collapsed under the pressure of several people who were rushing out down the staircase. 

One of the minors, a 13-year-old girl, is in critical condition after being certified of suffering from injuries compatible with a head trauma. Another minor, a 15-year-old girl, is being treated at the Intensive Treatment Unit (ITU) after being initially certified of suffering from life-threatening injuries. Her condition has improved, but she is still receiving treatment at the ITU. 

Addressing a press conference at Mater Dei Hospital a few hours after the incident occurred, parliamentary secretary for health Chris Fearne said 42 patients were admitted to Mater Dei, while an additional 29 were treated at health centres across Malta. A further three youths were hospitalised this morning. 16 remain at hospital for further treatment, while the others were discharged earlier today.  

The injured, aged between 13 and 25 years, are understood to have suffered from bruises, lacerations, fractures, as well as head injuries.

The parliamentary secretary explained that the incident occurred at around 1:00am when a glass banister at the PlusOne in Paceville broke when several youths rushed out of the club and fell onto the staircase of another establishment about five metres below. Initial investigations suggest that a gas leak triggered the exodus from the club, but several witnesses, including some who complained of breathing difficulties, said panic ensued due to the use of pepper spray.

As yet, however, the cause that led patrons to leave the club hurriedly has not been established, as police investigations are still ongoing and a magisterial inquiry was launched.  

Emergency officials arrived on site after the incident, and the first patient was admitted to Mater Dei Hospital at around 1:22am. Around 21 trips were made by ambulances during the night to transfer the injured to Mater Dei and to health centres across Malta. 

Fearne also explained that an accident helpline has been set up on 25454288. On Monday, the psychiatric unit will offer assistance to anyone who may need psychological help after witnessing the events.

In a reaction to the incident, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat expressed his "shock and anger" as news emerged of minors being present in Paceville, and said that rules will be reviewed and changed if necessary. On his side, Opposition leader Simon Busuttil also took umbrage at the lack of security in Paceville.