Madrid deputy mayor resigns over deadly stampede

Spanish police officers walk near the entrance to the Madrid Arena stadium in Madrid on November 1, 2012. Madrid's deputy mayor resigned Wednesday over a deadly stampede at a Halloween rave party that killed five young women.

Madrid's deputy mayor resigned Wednesday over a deadly stampede at a Halloween rave party that killed five young women.

Miguel Angel Villanueva said he was resigning to restore "calm" to the city hall after the crush at the Madrid Arena indoor concert venue on November 1, which raised questions about security and emergency services.

Three victims aged between 18 and 20 died on the night of the crush and two others aged 17 and 20 died later in hospital from their injuries.

The tragedy threw into turmoil the city administration of Spain's governing conservative Popular Party as it was busy struggling to overhaul its finances in an economic crisis.

"The Madrid Arena tragedy disrupted the daily running of the government of this city," Villanueva told a news conference.

"I am taking this decision to resign for the sake of calm in a government that needs to work in the interests of all."

Villanueva insisted he had a "clear conscience", following allegations of links between him and Miguel Angel Flores, the head of the company that organised the giant party.

"I have surely made mistakes and now is a good time to apologise for them," Villanueva said, without elaborating, but added: "I have never used my position for the personal benefit of anyone."

When questioned last month by a mayoral commission investigating the disaster, Villanueva denied any undue dealings with Flores's company Diviertt and said he was not responsible for its role in the party.

Disturbing amateur videos and photographs of the disaster showed partygoers piling on top of each other as they squeezed into a narrow corridor at the venue.

Spanish television broadcast recordings of calls by the distraught friends of wounded victims to the ambulance service, in which an operator told them ambulances were unable to reach the arena due to crowds around it.

An initial police report on November 7 blamed overcrowding for the crush which struck as the party's star DJ started his turn.

Spanish media citing an investigating judge reported that the number of tickets sold for the concert was 6,000 more than the 10,500 capacity of the arena.

Spanish newspapers El Pais and El Mundo reported Wednesday that Villanueva had been forced to resign by the Popular Party mayor of Madrid, Ana Botella.

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