Tragedy Hits Opening of Indian Ocean Island Games

At least 12 died in crowd crush in Madagascar
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 26, 2023 6:56 AM CDT
12 Die in Crush at Opening of Indian Ocean Island Games
People gather outside the HJRA hospital, in Antananarivo. Madagascar, Friday Aug.25, 2023.   (AP Photo Laetitia Bezain)

At least 12 people died in a crush at a stadium in Madagascar on Friday as sports fans gathered for the opening ceremony of the Indian Ocean Island Games, local media reported. The reports said Prime Minister Christian Ntsay announced the deaths. He said around 80 others had been injured, 11 of them critically. Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina was at the ceremony at Mahamasina Stadium in the capital, Antananarivo, and asked the crowd to observe a few moments of silence for the dead, the reports said. Video posted on social media showed dozens of injured people being treated next to the stadiums athletics track, reports Reuters.

The stadium, which is built to hold around 41,000 people, has been the site of deadly crushes before, the AP reports. One person died and at least 37 were injured in a crush ahead of a qualifying game for the African Cup of Nations soccer tournament between Madagascar and Senegal in 2018. In 2019, at least 15 people died in a stampede at a music concert at the stadium. The Indian Ocean Island Games, held every four years, is a multi-sports event featuring nations from the region. Athletes from Comoros, Maldives, Mautirtius, Mayotte, Reunion and Seychelles also compete at the games.

(More Madagascar stories.)

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