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Women die in stampede at nightclub

Three young women have died in a stampede at a Hungarian nightclub, police said.

Five people, including the organisers of the event, were taken into custody.

Thousands of people were caught up in the stampede late on Saturday and the victims may have been trampled by the rushing crowd, Budapest police spokeswoman Katalin Fanni Horvath said.

Police and medical investigators were working to determine the cause of the deaths. Police have denied reports that the victims were stabbed.

"Human irresponsibility caused the deaths of the three victims," Interior Minister Sandor Pinter told reporters, adding that drugs had been detected in one of the young women.

The incident occurred at the West-Balkan nightclub in central Budapest, housed on several levels inside a communist-era shopping centre and office complex.

According to district officials, the venue was functioning without a full permit and being allowed to operate only until 10pm with a maximum capacity of 300 people.

An estimated 2,500 people were in the nightclub when the incident occurred just before midnight and 2,881 tickets had been sold, Night Noise Life, the organising company, said in a message posted on its Facebook page. Mr Pinter said 4,000 tickets had been printed.

Family, friends and other mourners lit candles and laid flowers outside the nightclub which is across a busy avenue from one of Budapest's main railway stations.

Prime minister Viktor Orban and his wife, Aniko Levay, also lit candles at the scene.

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