Henrico County residents went postal in their desperate rush to buy a limited number of $50 iBooks yesterday.

Several people were injured as the crowd stampeded to get a cheap Mac, with a 5,500-strong crowd battling for just 1,000 four-year old machines.

The sale took place at Richmond International Raceway. WROC-TV reports that when the gates to the venue opened, the crowd ran with some being trampled.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has an image capturing the scene as the melee pressed forward. This clearly shows people falling over in the onslaught.

Total chaos as bargain-hunters battle

"Mothers clutched their children for protection, people screamed as they were knocked to the ground, a stroller was demolished, cars inched through the crowd," the report explains.

Henrico County residents are so keen on owning an Apple notebook that the queue began assembling at 1.30am. It was half a mile long by the time dawn broke.

"One woman went so far as to wet herself rather than surrender her place in line," reports the Associated Press.

Apple's 'life or death' laptops

When the sale began, police "struggled" to maintain order.

Local resident Lester Caudill said: "It's like the people are going to die if they don't get a computer. This is like the last chopper out of Saigon."

The sale took place as the local education district sold its Macs to make way for new machines from new supplier, Dell.
Joy of Tech has prepared an amusing comic strip in tribute to the mayhem.