61 dead in Ivory Coast New Year stampede
At least 61 people were trampled to death following a New Year's fireworks display at an Ivory Coast stadium.
A crowd stampeded after leaving a New Year's fireworks show early Tuesday in Ivory Coast's commercial center, killing 61 people -- many of them youths -- and injuring more than 200, rescue workers said.
The death toll was expected to rise, the officials said.
Thousands had gathered at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan's Plateau district to see the fireworks. After the show, the crowds poured onto the Boulevard de la Republic by the Hotel Tirama at about 1 a.m., said Col. Issa Sako of the fire department rescue team.
"The flood of people leaving the stadium became a stampede which led to the deaths of more than 60 and injured more than 200," Sako told Ivory Coast state TV.
Most of those killed were between 8 and 15 years old, he said.
Desperate parents went to the city morgue, the hospital and to the stadium to try to find children who are still missing.
Mamadou Sanogo was searching for his nine-year-old son, Sayed.
"I have just seen all the bodies, but I cannot find my son," said a tearful Sanogo. "I don't know what to do."
President Alassane Ouattara and his wife visited some of those hospitalized and he pledged that the government would pay for their treatment, his office said.
No reason has been found yet for the stampede that caused the tragedy, but if you look at US stadiums. crowds are funneled through very broad exits to prevent jamming up. It could be as simple as that - too many people trying to leave through narrow exits. People start pushing those in front of them and before you know it, panic sets in.
Probably a completely preventable tragedy.