Chaos as everyone wants a piece of Reece (+video)

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Reece Mastin at Sylvia Park. Photo / Tim Raethel
Reece Mastin at Sylvia Park. Photo / Tim Raethel

Hundreds of teenage fans mobbed X-Factor heart-throb Reece Mastin last night, forcing organisers of his public appearance to cancel a signing session as young girls started to faint.

Several teenage girls fainted and one had to be dragged from an emotional, overheated crowd after thousands of fans crammed into The Warehouse at Sylvia Park at 6pm.

The 16-year-old pop idol - who stopped traffic in Ponsonby earlier this week - was meant to be in-store meeting fans until 8.30pm but was escorted away after just 30 minutes when things started getting out of control.

Parent Gina Jones arrived with her 12-year-old daughter Charnae and 12-year-old stepdaughter Jade at 4pm and had to queue just to get inside the mall, which was already full with thousands of screaming teenagers.

She said things were fine while Mastin preformed his single Good Night but quickly turned to chaos as he prepared to sign autographs.

"The crowd just surged forward and you couldn't breathe because there were just too many people. We saw two girls who had fainted and another was being dragged out of the crowd because she couldn't breathe."

Police arrived soon after, as did ambulance staff who helped those who had fainted.

Young fan Amalia Wickstead, 13, said she and her friends were shocked by what had happened.

"I had somebody trying to climb onto my back. It was that bad.

"There were little kids who were knocked over because people were just rushing forward, it was crazy."

Sony publicist Taryn Kerr confirmed the appearance was cut short "for safety reasons".

One parent told the Herald part of the evening's problems stemmed from the fact that fans couldn't hear what security guards were saying and it was too hot inside.

The woman said one security guard with a megaphone "screamed it in one girl's face" and it was "a bit bloody scary too for the young kids". Upset fans took to Twitter to voice their disappointment - with some saying they had waited unsuccessfully for up to six hours and didn't even get to see their idol, let alone grab an autograph.

Margaret Stanley said her 13-year-old daughter Talia was "gutted" at not being able to meet Mastin but "as disappointing as it was for the event to be called off I don't believe they had an alternative as it was unsafe".

Mastin is due to perform at Wellington's TSB Arena on April 12 and Auckland's Vector Arena on April 14.

A statement from Mastin said: "I'm so sorry that we had to cut it short, but my fans are the most important thing in the world to me and we had to make sure that the situation remained safe for everyone. When I come back in April I'll do my very best to make it up to you."

- NZ Herald

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