Picture this: people running from a public place, screaming. Explosions can be heard, and police and RAID teams are storming into the gates. People are in lockdown, and none of them are allowed to go out the gate. Horrified, terrorized.
This is precisely what happened in Disneyland Paris yesterday. Visitors in the world-famous theme park mistook the suspicious noises made by a broken escalator for gunshots and explosion, fleeing the scene in panic.
The incident happened on the evening of March 23rd; and has spiked a stamped leaving several people injured. The alarm began when people started hearing loud bangs that they thought were explosions and gunshot from somebody – other’s even thought that there was a terrorist attack.
An official who requested to remain anonymous confirmed that a stampede indeed happens that caused several visitors some injuries.
The cause of the explosions? A broken escalator mechanism.
“It began working erratically and causing loud noises. It may be that some people have been hurt in this accident,” an eyewitness said, as quoted by the news outlet news.com.au.
After visitors have posted reports about the gunfire and explosions on social media platforms, police and emergency services arrived and the scene and ordered a lock down of the amusement park.
“Everyone thought it was an attack. After a few minutes, they made us leave through the back. There were police everywhere.”
According to the French Interior Ministry through a post made on Twitter, the incident was caused by a “false alarm” and “security forces confirm there is no threat.”
#FAKENEWS OVER DISNEYLAND INCIDENT INCITES FEAR
In the height of the panic and people flooding social media of the photos and videos they took while being subjected to the horror of the “attack,” a number of French and global news agencies have started to report that there was a shooting incident inside Disneyland Paris, causing further panic among people in their homes.
Daily Star, a UK-based news agency, reported that visitors in the theme park are evacuated as they are told “don’t go outside” and that “there are reports of explosions.” They also fuelled the fire by reporting that the “#DisneylandParis situation is due to a person with a rifle at nearby Marne la Vallee station.”
Many people in social media slammed the news agency saying that it was “unprofessional and shameful just to get a few clicks.”
They also said that people in the scene could be compelled to make irrational decisions and “be hurt” if they see fake news. They also chimed in saying that these media outlets are the reason why “people [are] scared to do anything these days.”
Another Twitter user said that “they are trying to have a good time” and news outlets that proliferate fake news about the incident should “stop escalating minor situations and making us petrified to have fun.”
The French Interior Ministry said that people should only share information from credible sources as to not cause further panic.
#DISNEYLANDPARIS: PEOPLE SHARES EXPERIENCE ON TWITTER
Amid the trauma and the fake news, many visitors who were in Disneyland Paris during the incident shared their story in social media networks.
One shared that she “thought she was trapped in a parking garage about to get gunned down.” She also added that she had never seen people run in panic like that in her life.
Others reached out to their family and friends telling them that they are safe.
“[I] was as just in an extreme event in Disneyland Paris. [I]am safe with my family and hope that whatever happened to whoever is safe as well. [I ] don’t know what happened. Very saddening to see kids crying with such terror in their eyes. I hope everyone is safe.
Another Twitter user said that the incident was an eye-opening experience for her.
“Hearts in my throat. What a scary and eye-opening experience. Thank god nobody has been physically injured but the memory will surely stick with me.”
Disneyland staff and employees also took to Twitter to announce that they are safe amidst the panic. “Our team members are safe! They got evacuated pretty quickly; some are at their hotels, some are still in the village at a safe place! Please follow the instructions from the cast members and try to stay calm,” dein-dlde Disneyland Paris & Walt Disney World official account wrote. /apr