The owners of a nightclub where a 20-year-old student died in an incident involving a barrier said it had been “a terrible accident”.
The woman died outside Missoula in Durham just before midnight as people queued to get in to a popular student night.
First aiders attempted to save her before the emergency services arrived, but she did not survive after suffering a serious head injury.
The bar owners said in a statement: “A full investigation has been launched, working with the Police and the company who provide our door staff, to fully understand what led to this terrible accident.
“Until that is concluded we are unable to comment further.
“Our thoughts are with the young lady’s family and friends.”
According to The Tab student newspaper, the bar was packed and there was a long queue waiting to get in.
Revellers who saw the horrific scene were in left tears.
Missoula’s Wednesday evening event, Game Over, describes itself as Durham’s biggest student night and it is in the popular Walkergate area of bars and restaurants.
Durham Police said: “When officers arrived, the student was being resuscitated by door staff before the ambulance service continued attempts to revive her.
“Unfortunately, she was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Forensic experts were working at the scene and covered the spot where she was killed with a large blue tent.
A post-mortem examination is being carried out to establish the cause of death.
Owen Adams, pro-vice-chancellor Colleges and Student Experience, Durham University, said: “We are extremely shocked and saddened by the death of a Durham University student in Durham City last night.
“We are offering support to students and staff.
“Our thoughts are with the student’s family and friends at this very difficult time.
“We are unable to comment further on what is an ongoing police investigation.”