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Video shows mayhem during balloon drop at Australian shopping mall

Shoppers injured after Christmas balloon-drop in Sydney goes wrong
WATCH: More than a dozen shoppers were injured during a Christmas giveaway event in a shopping centre in western Sydney on Dec. 23.

A balloon drop with gifts inside caused mayhem at an Australian shopping mall on Dec. 23.

In video footage of the incident, a crowd of around 100 people can be seen gathering underneath the bunch of balloons at Westfield Parramatta shopping centre in western Sydney. The balloon drop was set to kick off a 36-hour non-stop shop ahead of the holidays.

ABC News says the balloons were filled with gift cards for as little as $5 as well as other prizes, and they were released shortly after midnight.

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In the video, the crowd builds and people can be seen shoving each other. As soon as the balloons drop, several people, including a man dressed as Santa Claus, are knocked over.

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A wall display also gets knocked over in the chaos.

According to 9News, five people were taken to hospital after being injured in the incident. Another 12 people were reportedly treated at the scene.

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An unnamed witness told 9News that people were being pulled out from broken pieces of Christmas decorations.

“The volume of the customers was nothing I have seen before,” she said. “As the balloons started to drop, customers just started pushing in, and people were pushing against the set and it just pulled apart.

“The staff were literally pulling people in over the broken pieces and trying to administer first aid before paramedics came.”

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Scentre Group, owner of the Westfield chain of malls, says it will be investigating the incident.

“The safety of our customers, retail partners and people is our priority,” a spokeswoman told ABC. “Our team acted swiftly to support our customers, contact emergency services and make the area safe.”

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

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