Aussies caught up in music festival shooting
AUSTRALIAN tourists have been caught up in a deadly shooting at an electronic music festival in Mexico, which left at least five people dead and sparked a stampede.
A lone gunman opened fire at the Blue Parrot nightclub in Playa Del Carmen just after 3am Monday local time (7pm Monday AEDT) on the last night of the BPM festival, according to an official statement.
Fifteen people were injured, some in the stampede, and three of the dead were from the US, Colombia and Canada, Mayor Cristina Torres told Turquesa radio.
Trent Cray, a finance broker from Perth, was with friends when the gunfire erupted.
"OMG the whole club just got shot up!!!" he wrote on Facebook.
"We all had to get on floor and wait. The gunman ran around then everyone legged it. I filmed the whole thing. We all ok."
Another Perth man who was travelling with Mr Cray, Tim Mullen, described hearing gunshots. He said he and his friends first assumed a firecracker show was starting.
"As we sat down there was more and more screams running through the club," Mr Mullen told Nine News.
"You could hear the gun shots getting close and then they were, like, directly behind us maybe within five metres. I know that I ran past four victims and there was at least two others behind me that I didn't see, where or not they are all dead or not, I'm not sure."
Australian DJ Wax Motif claimed in a series of tweets he had seen the horrific shooting unfold.
"Guy 5m in front of us got shot. We all jumped the fence to get out and saw at least 4 bodies down on the escape. #BlueParrot," he said in one tweet.
"We ran down the beach cos we saw bodies in the alleyway next to club then another gunman started charging down on us from up the beach," he wrote in another.
We managed to find a route back to our apartment and have been letting random people take refuge at ours for the night— Wax Motif (@WaxMotif) January 16, 2017
Nightclub patrons described horrific scenes as the stampede slowed.
US tourist Jake Lubelski said he was among the crowds that bolted as they heard gunshots and "nearly got trampled by the frantic herds of people".
"As soon as I turned around the corner and got a look at the scene, I saw a man lying on the floor in his own blood," he wrote on Facebook.
"It could have been me."
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told News Corp Australia it was aware of reports of Australians in the area.
"The Australian Embassy in Mexico is making urgent inquiries to determine whether any Australians have been affected by the shooting in Playa del Carmen. We are aware of reports of Australians in the area," a DFAT spokesman said.
"If you have any concerns for the welfare of family and friends in the region, you should attempt to contact them directly."
Video taken at the club show dozens of people fleeing the scene in panic. In one, shouts of "he's got a gun" can be heard.
Scottish DJ Jackmaster issued a warning to clubbers after shots rang out, tweeting "Stay in ur f****n hotel."
A second shooting was then reported at a closing party at The Jungle - another club taking part in the event which attracts DJs from across the world. These reports have not been confirmed.
Valerie Lee, Mixmag's US Digital Editor, was at the Elrow closing party at The Blue Parrot when the shots rang out.
"We were in the backstage area, which is super close to the main entrance. At least four to five shots were fired," she told Mixmag.
"People started running because there's an exit in the back. We stopped and hid behind a cement wall, then crawled under a metal table.
"Security guards at first didn't think it was shots and kept claiming it was fireworks, saying everything was OK. Then people kept running and said they saw a gun. We kept hiding until they opened the back gate and we ran outside."
Local TV station EMAC TV reported that the mass shooting is believed to be related to a drug gang turf war or cartel-related.
Festival organisers issued a statement on Facebook: "The BPM Festival has been working closely with the local authorities (Seguridad Publica / Policia Turistica) throughout the festival to ensure public safety and security for all visitors.
"We are overcome with grief over this senseless act of violence and we are co-operating fully with local law enforcement and government officials as they continue their investigation."
The BPM festival is an annual event running from January 6 to 15 this year, its 10th anniversary.
Along with thousands of people, the event featured more than 375 artists.
Playa del Carmen is 68 kilometres south of Cancun.
The region, popular among American and European tourists, has been largely spared from the drug violence plaguing other parts of M
If you are unable to contact family or friends in Mexico and still hold concerns for their welfare, you should call the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's 24 hour Consular Emergency Centre on 1 300 555 135, or +61 2 6261 3305 (if calling from overseas).