Tragic Olivia Burt was at the city's Missoula nightspot 'Game Over' event when a glass and metal barrier collapsed - apparently under the weight of a
Tragic Olivia Burt was at the city’s Missoula nightspot ‘Game Over’ event when a glass and metal barrier collapsed – apparently under the weight of a ‘group of boys’ who started to push.
A first year student at a top university was crushed to death as she queued outside a nightclub.
The victim, named locally as Durham University student Olivia Burt, 20, was at the city’s Missoula nightspot ‘Game Over’ event when a glass and metal barrier collapsed, apparently under the weight of a ‘group of boys’ who started to push.
She became trapped underneath it, bleeding heavily from a head wound.
Paramedics arrived to give emergency treatment, but she died at the scene.
Her parents Paula and Nigel were said to be travelling to Durham from their home Milford on Sea, Hants, to formally identify her body on Thursday.
Witnesses in the queue described the horrific incident.
One said: “People were barging to get in.
“As they pushed to get in it caused the fence to fall over. The girl was trapped under the fence and crushed. There was a fair bit of panic. A security man at the nightclub ran toward her and took his shirt off to stem the bleeding from her head.
“She had lost consciousness and he started giving CPR and was helped by other doormen until the ambulance arrived.
“There were about 600 people inside the club.”
Another witness, named Rosie, told student newspaper The Tab Durham she lent her jumper to cushion the victim’s head.
She said: “A large group of boys come to get in the queue and for some reason decided they were going to go in faster if we started to push.
“This was around 11:55am or 12am, and the barrier toppled over along with all the people and I along with others got pushed over.
“I looked round and there’s this girl on the floor with blood pouring out of her head, I ran over to try and help other people look after her.
“There was blood everywhere, I got them to cushion her head with my jumper and then the only bouncer present just drags me away. Another student heroically gave CPR until the ambulance arrived. The crowd control was poor and unfortunately a girl lost her life because of it.”
Young men and women were crying and hugging each other.
“One girl who knew the victim was running in hysterics and just screaming ‘no’,” one witness said.
“I’ve never seen tragedy like that before.”
One Twitter user described Olivia as “such a bright and lovely girl”.
Neighbours of the Burt family saw a police car leaving their £600,000 home with a police officer driving the vehicle.
Durham Police confirmed a 20-year-old woman had suffered serious injuries in the vicinity of the club.
A spokesman said: “Ambulance crews assisted by our officers attended but sadly she was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Our thoughts are with her family and friends.”
North East Ambulance Service received the report of serious head injuries at 11.50pm.
“The first arrival on scene was at 11.58pm,” it said. “Then another a minute later and a third at 12.10am. CPR was in progress when the call came in.”
Phoenix Security, which provides security at the venue, declined to comment on the incident.
Missoula, formerly known as the Slug and Lettuce pub, opened in September 2016 following a £385,000 investment.
A spokesman for owners Stonegate pub company declined to comment due to the police inquiry.
Tributes have flooded in for Olivia, who was “an exceptional sports woman” who had sailed for Britain, Durham University has said.
Professor David Held, Master of University College, Durham, said: “The staff and students of University College, Durham acutely feel the loss of Olivia Burt.
“Olivia arrived in Durham last autumn to begin reading natural sciences. She came to Durham with glowing references from her school where she was regarded in the highest possible terms.
“She had an outstanding academic record and was an exceptional sports woman.
“She was part of the British Sailing team in the European Championships. Olivia sailed for more than a decade, quickly finding her place in the University team.
“She became very active both in college life and the wider university.
“Those students close to her have lost a wonderful friend, whom in their shock they grieve for, alongside her family and friends.
“The College has lost a bright and outstandingly able student. It is hard to come to terms with her loss, and we will miss her greatly.”
Miss Burt was a former head girl at Bournemouth School for Girls.
According to The Tab student newspaper, the bar was packed and there was a long queue waiting to get in.
Revellers who saw the horrific scene were in tears as helpers and then the emergency services tried to revive her.
In a statement, Missoula said it was “a terrible accident” and that they were working with the police and security company which provides door staff.
A spokeswoman added: “Our thoughts are with the young lady’s family and friends.”
Detective Superintendent Kevin Weir, from Durham Constabulary, said: “This was a tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of Olivia during this incredibly sad time.
“A joint investigation is ongoing between ourselves and Durham County Council to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident.”
Missoula’s Wednesday-evening event, Game Over, describes itself as Durham’s biggest student night and it is in the popular Walkergate area of bars and restaurants.
Students said the venue is often busy and uses barriers when queues of people are waiting to get in.
Forensic experts were working at the scene and covered the spot where she was injured with a large blue tent.
The Royal Yachting Association paid tribute to the sailor.
Chris Atherton, its senior high performance manager, said: “The RYA is deeply saddened to learn of this tragic incident.
“As a popular and committed Junior Optimist squad sailor, Olivia Burt exhibited all the drive, determination and good sportsmanship required to progress as a successful Laser competitor.
“Olivia’s passion for sailing always shone through and all those who knew her in the sailing community will miss her tremendously; she was both a likeable and fair competitor.
“Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Olivia at this sad time.”