A woman has reportedly been trampled to death after up to 600 party goers stampeded from a Dunedin house, with police yet to decide whether charges will be laid.
Two other people were seriously injured during the panicked rush from the student flat on Dundas St, known as "The Manor", around midnight on Saturday.
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The University of Otago student who died was seen by one witness being carried from the flat and laid on the ground where she was given CPR.
Another witness described how they were bowled over by the crowd and left praying not to be crushed.
"I got pushed to the ground with two other girls I remember, and we were looking at each other screaming and crying, trying to get up," she said.
"I kept repeating 'please don't let me die, I don't want to die'.
Otago Coastal Commander Inspector Marty Gray said there were 500-600 people crammed into the flat, leading police to be called to break up the party by the University of Otago's Campus Watch just before midnight on Saturday.
He said officers and other partygoers worked on resuscitating the woman for a "good five minutes" before St John arrived.
Despite the police call out, Gray said the crowds were not disorderly and no arrests were made.
Rather, everyone was in a state of shock and trying to help out.
"It's not a time to point fingers. We need to rally around the community," Gray said.
"It's news no parent wants to hear. They live outside of Dunedin and they've been told of their daughter's death this morning.
Police are yet to release more details of the dead woman and were providing support ot her family.
One student told the Herald hundreds of people had been flooding into the flat before the incident with many of the partygoers being "extremely intoxicated".
The girl fell over when panicked partygoers had been trying to get out the flat's door, she said.
"She fell and people were just trampling all over her without taking much notice," the student, who asked not to be named, said.
"When I was coming down, people had started giving her CPR but she was gone pretty fast, unfortunately."
Once police officers were inside the flat, everyone got out really quickly, the witness said.
The street outside was flooded with people and at least eight police cars, three ambulances, and two fire engines were at the scene.
Police said there were no signs as yet of the stairs collapsing or any other major structural damage.
The woman who described being knocked over and left praying that she didn't die was lucky someone managed to grab her hand and help her off the ground.
"I don't know how long I was down there, but it was the most terrifying experience of my life - I thought that was how I was going to die," she said.
She said she ran from the building screaming and had been left badly shaken up.
Meanwhile, another student said he left the party before the stampede because he was worried about how crowded it was.
"There was one point where I was swept over and fell down with a couple of other people," he said.
"It was pretty standard [for flats to be full], it's happened before at flat parties but this was certainly worse than I've experienced in the past."
"It was like a school of fish moving around … you didn't really have control over what was happening."