At least one dead, 37 injured in Madagascar stampede

  Antananarivo, Sunday

At least one person was killed and 37 injured in a stampede at a football stadium in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo, a hospital official said Sunday.

“In all, there are 41 patients that entered the hospital including one dead on the spot and two in fairly precarious states. The two critically injured patients have head and thoracic trauma,” Oliva Alison Rakoto, director of the Hrja Hospital, told AFP.

She said some of the injured have already been discharged.

The stampede occurred at the entrance to the venue just before kickoff between Madagascar and Senegal.

Witnesses said thousands of fans had been waiting outside Mahamasina Stadium since early in the morning, well ahead of the 2:30 pm kickoff.

At the hospital, 30-year-old Henintsoa Mialy Harizafy told AFP her uncle had left home around 8:00 am to attend the 2019 Cup of Nations qualifying match. “We heard he was hospitalised here after being trampled in the stampede,” she said.

She added: “I don’t understand why only one entrance gate was open for such a big match.”

Another fan, Rivo Raberisaona, said his group had joined the queue at 6:00 am. “We were a metre and a half (five feet) from the entrance when the stampede happened. I was trampled in the back, but my rucksack softened the blow,” said Raberisaona.

Despite the crush, the match began on time with 20,000 spectators attending.

Families in the waiting room of the Hjra hospital watched the game on television and could be heard bursting with joy when the Malagasy national team scored a goal and was able to equalise. -AFP

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