Partygoers jumped from the second storey of a Dunedin flat on top of others as they tried to flee the scene of a party gone wrong.

A pile-up six people high gathered on the ground as partygoers fought to get out of the flat, known as The Manor, on Saturday night.

University of Otago second-year student Sophia Crestani, 19, was reportedly crushed at the bottom of the pile and died shortly afterwards.

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A student who attended the party told the Herald of "hectic" scenes where intoxicated people frantically tried to exit the flat.

"People were jumping off the top of the stairs onto other people. It was basically a human dog pile. People were mounting on top of each other," she said.

"There was major anxiety, everybody was trying to get out while others were coming in, it was a big wall. People were getting squashed."

Police investigators at the scene. Photo / ODT
Police investigators at the scene. Photo / ODT

Crestani, who had an identical twin, moved from Wellington where she grew up to study at the University of Otago.

Police today confirmed a scene examination at the flat had been completed and they had spoken to a number of people who attended the party.

Two other partygoers were seriously injured following the panicked stampede to exit the Dundas St party around midnight on Saturday.

The two, who were both residential students, had knee or leg injuries, University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Harlene Hayne said.

Those living at the Dundas St property were moving out and the university was assisting them to find alternative accommodation.


Many of people who attended the party had been drinking plenty of alcohol and appeared intoxicated or impaired, the student claimed.

Before the fatal incident, police had been called by the occupants of the flat after the party grew out of control.

Shoes, broken glass bottles and cans littered the street outside the flat. Photo / ODT
Shoes, broken glass bottles and cans littered the street outside the flat. Photo / ODT

The student thought partygoers panicked because the police were on their way.

"Everyone was intoxicated, it was a really bad situation," she said.

"Everybody was [acting] completely out of fear - it was getting to the point people were hurt. Nobody was having fun in there."

After the panic died down, several students managed to carry Crestani outside where they attempted to give her CPR, the student said.

Plenty of other partygoers had sustained injuries but fled the scene after they exited the flat, she said.

Mourners place flowers in a hedge outside the flat. Photo / ODT
Mourners place flowers in a hedge outside the flat. Photo / ODT

The student didn't think the flat was big enough to house 600 people at one time but thought hundreds had been through its doors over the night.

Another student told the Herald he left the party early over fears he would get crushed, having watched a documentary on the Hillsborough disaster recently.

"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."