International

Madagascar: Crush At the Opening Ceremony Of Indian Ocean Island Games Kills At Least 12

The crush on Friday at the Mahamasina Stadium in the capital, Antananarivo, happened as people gathered at an entrance for the official opening of the regional multi-sports event.

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A crush at a stadium in Madagascar left at least 12 people dead and 85 injured as sports fans attended the opening ceremony of the Indian Ocean Island Games, authorities said Saturday. 

Government spokesperson Lalatiana Rakotondrazafy said that 33 of the injured remained in the HRJA Hospital.

The crush on Friday at the Mahamasina Stadium in the capital, Antananarivo, happened as people gathered at an entrance for the official opening of the regional multi-sports event.

Madagascar Prime Minister Christian Ntsay said Friday that 11 people were in critical condition following the crush, which happened at around 4.30 p.m. Ntsay visited victims at the hospital.

Spokesperson Rakotondrazafy did not give any update on those who were critically injured in her statement posted on Facebook.

Andry Rajoelina was at the ceremony at Mahamasina Stadium and asked the crowd to observe a moment of silence. The opening ceremony went ahead.

The stadium, which is built to hold around 41,000 people, has been the site of deadly crushes before. 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 is a multi-sports event featuring nations from the region. Athletes from Comoros, Maldives, Mauritius, Mayotte, Reunion and Seychelles also compete at the games, which were first held in 1979.
    Madagascar replaced original host the Maldives for this year's edition, which is scheduled to run from Aug. 25 to Sept. 3. (AP)  AMS

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