'Top Model' hopefuls spark riot in downtown New York

NEW YORK - Six people were taken to hospital and three arrested after a melee in downtown Manhattan on Saturday among the hundreds waiting in line to audition for the newest season of 'America's Next Top Model'.

The New York Daily News reports that bedlam broke out when a BMW near the scene began to overheat causing smoke to billow out of the bonnet.

The small fire caused panic amongst the crowd of 'Top Model' hopefuls, who began to surge towards the studio doors, screaming "fire!" and "there's a bomb!".

A spokesperson for the New York Police Department said that 'Top Model' producers failed to inform the police about the large crowd due to gather for the first casting call of what is now the 11th season of the reality programme.

The outnumbered police officers were unable to contain the stampeding crowd.

When it was over, six women were taken to the hospital, one suffering from a concussion, while three more were arrested for inciting a riot and causing a disturbance.

Reports say the scene in front of the studios is still littered with high heel shoes, ripped sleeping bags and trampled resumes.

Those waiting to audition are begging host Tyra Banks for a second chance after police shut down the scene, many of whom had been camping out overnight to appear on the programme, which for the first time is allowing models under the height of 5'7" to try out.

The programme, which airs on the CW Network in the US, is scheduled to continue its countrywide casting call in Miami, Florida next week.

Former supermodel Banks did not reveal whether a second audition would be held in New York, but did release a joint statement with executive producer Ken Mok, which said: "We are concerned by the events that occurred Saturday afternoon in the vicinity of the New York City casting call for the next cycle of 'America's Next Top Model.

"At this time, we still don't know all the details of what happened or what triggered the incident. We appreciate the efforts of the NYPD and will assist them in any way possible in this matter."

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