Large Crowd That Attended MBS Drone Show Took Almost 1 Hour To Disperse
UPDATE (11 Feb, 6.30pm): Marina Bay Sands (MBS) is rolling out additional crowd control measures following reports of congestion and safety issues during its drone show on Feb 10.
MBS said it is deploying additional security personnel and activating security plans similar to major events, such as New Year’s Day countdown, from Feb 11.
It has also advised members of the public to consider alternative viewing locations for the show, such as across the bay. “The 10-minute performance can be viewed across the entire 3.5km belt of the Marina Bay waterfront, with the iconic Marina Bay Sands building in the backdrop,” said its spokesman.
Commuters are also advised to alight and depart from other MRT stations to avoid overcrowding at Bayfront MRT station. Those at Mist Walk should use Downtown MRT station, while those at the Helix bridge should use the Promenade MRT station.
A woman who was at MBS with her family on Saturday has made a police report over the crowds.
In a Facebook post, Ms Carolyn Leo called the event a “disaster” and said there was almost a stampede. She noted that there was no signages or queue management and she and her husband had to take actions to prevent their children from getting crushed.
On Saturday (10 Feb) — the first day of the Chinese New Year (CNY) — the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) finally staged its much-anticipated drone light show.
Unsurprisingly, the show attracted a large crowd eager to watch and record footage of the stunning display.
Spirits may have been dampened, however, by the heavy rain that fell just shortly after the show started.
MBS waterfront already packed at 7.20pm
The free drone show, ‘The Legend of the Dragon Gate’, was originally due to commence for the first time on Tuesday (6 Feb) but was cancelled due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’.
Thus, Saturday (10 Feb) night was the very first show instead. Many who were there would have been looking forward to seeing the fleet of 1,500 drones that would converge to form a dragon silhouette.
When MS News reached the Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade at 7.20pm, the boardwalk was already packed with people standing and sitting on the ground.
When the drones took to the sky at 8pm, the crowd would’ve thought they were in for a treat as the flying machines started forming what seemed like butterflies.
Rain falls on crowd shortly after MBS drone show starts
However, after waiting for so long in dry weather for the drones, rain started pouring just about a minute after the show started.
And it wasn’t a drizzle, but a heavy downpour — enough for people to start taking out umbrellas and rushing back to the mall for shelter.
While this might have been a bit of letdown, it didn’t stop people from braving the rain to catch the dragon in all its glory.
Crowd struggled to disperse afterwards
After the 10-minute show ended, the nightmare began.
As the huge crowd started to disperse, most of the people there found themselves unable to enter the building and get to the MRT due to the sheer number of people trying to get through the doors.
Worse still, people were trying to leave the building while others were trying to get in at the same time. As a result, some squashing occurred.
As it turns out, it was equally packed both inside and outside the mall.
At one point, the situation looked like it could have turned into a stampede.
Eventually, many people gave up trying to squeeze through and waited for the crowd to get thinner.
Those who managed to make it to the MRT station found it equally crowded and difficult to get through the gantries.
At 8.55pm, close to one hour after the show started, the crowd had still not dispersed fully.
Crowd at MBS drone show compared to Itaewon stampede
Some netizens who attended the drone show on Saturday commented about the crowd. Contributors to the Hardwarezone forum described it as an almost-stampede that could have gone the way of the Itaewon tragedy in 2022.
The main reasons flagged for the crush was the fact that people were trying to head outside and inside at the same time via small sets of doors, and the lack of crowd control.
In a discussion about the MBS crowds on Reddit, a netizen noted that a large area of the boardwalk was closed off for the drones. This meant that there was a smaller area for people to watch the show.
Another person who was at the scene said many people panicked and tried to rush inside the building when it suddenly started raining heavily.
Thankfully, there were no reported injuries.
For those who want to catch the rest of the shows, the remaining ones are on:
- 11 Feb (Sunday）
- 12 Feb (Monday)
- 16 Feb (Friday)
- 17 Feb (Saturday)
- 18 Feb (Sunday)
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