Otago University students mourn death of fellow student at Dunedin party

The scene outside the student flat this morning

The scene outside the student flat this morning

A teenage girl was crushed to death by her peers at a house party after she fell down a flight of stairs.

Exams were just around the corner and university year was due to end around the start of November, so it was one of the last big parties, she said.

Otago University students are still coming to terms with the death of a woman who was fatally hurt when hundreds tried to flee a house party in Dunedin over the weekend.

Crestani had earlier studied at Queen Margaret College, a Presbyterian girls' school in Wellington.

Police inside the Dunedin flat where a woman died at a party on Saturday night.

When back home in Wellington, outside of university classes in Dunedin, Sophia worked casually as a recreation assistant at the ASB Sports Centre in Kilbirnie.

Queen Margaret College principal Jayne-Ann Young said Crestani "touched many lives" during her time at school.

"We are supporting the family of the student who died", she said.

Sophia also had a profile on the Ican agency for models, actors and extras.

Police are still trying to piece together exactly what happened at the party.

The University of Otago's vice-chancellor, Professor Harlene Hayne, said Crestani came from a special family.

The incident follows the 2016 collapse of a deck at a Dunedin residence - 16 people were moderately injured and two others seriously injured when a balcony collapsed at another Dunedin student flat.

He said he had seen people slipping on the stairs, but didn't think it was because they were too steep, rather it was because of the "sheer mass of people" using them.

Police are now investigating the circumstances of the death.

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"When the investigation is complete, we will consider wider concerns that may be raised by this event", Ms McPherson said.

When police arrived, the young woman, a student at the university, was carried out of the house by people at the address.

"When our officers arrived there was ... about 500 or 600 partygoers, a lot of them anxious, a lot of them trying to get out of the premises, a lot of them trying to get in the premises, a lot of disorganisation, a lot of uncertainty, a lot of anxiety", he said.

'The victim was carried out of the house by other people and resuscitation attempts were made at that time'.

"We urge our students to be there for each other - reach out to your friends an flatmates". A partygoer pleaded with police to come and help clear everybody out.

Earlier, two students from a neighbouring flat, who were at the party, estimated there were "upwards of 400 people" in the building at the time.

'She may have been trampled.

Empty shoes were left strewn on the street outside the address. "She was a lovely young lady, somewhat shy, but very much loved by the students that she coached", the man said.

There were initial reports the stairwell of the house had collapsed, but Insp Gray told media the house did not appear to have any structural issues.

Dunedin's student population was this morning "shaken up" by the death, he said. Now is not the time to be pointing fingers or blame.

He said Police were called to the scene by Campus Watch, before the party organisers also called police.

Health Minister David Clark, who was in Dunedin on Sunday, said the Government was very sorry to hear about the death and injuries at the party.

"In the midst of their own grief I admire their courage and their generosity in helping us to look out for the students who are most severely affected by this tragedy".

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