People wounded in a stampede are seen at the Cocody Hospital in Abidjan on January 1, 2013© REUTERS/ Thierry Gouegnon
MOSCOW, January 2 (RIA Novosti) - At least 60 people died in a stampede in Ivory Coast’s main city Abidjan on Tuesday, BBC reported.
"The great mass of people caused a very large stampede which caused 60 deaths, more than 200 people were injured," said Lt. Col. Issa Sako, who heads the military rescue effort.
Most of the victims are children and teenagers, the channel reported.
The stampede occurred early on January 1 as people were returning to their homes after a fireworks display at the Houphouet Boigny Stadium. The venue has a capacity of 65,000.
"Near the Hotel Tiama and the Houphouet-Boigny stadium there was a stampede. We were notified of injuries and deaths, and as regards casualties, we learnt that there was a heavy toll. The circumstances surrounding the incident will form the subject of an investigation," BBC quoted Interior Minister Hamed Bakayoko as saying.
It is yet unknown what caused the stampede, but, according to media reports, it occurred when thousands of people who were leaving the festivities were crushed by another large crowd that was arriving.
Local television RTI reported, however, that the crush was presumably due to panic in the crowd.
Hospital officials said the death toll will most likely rise, as many of the injured were in critical condition.
This is the second deadly stampede in about three years at this stadium. In 2009, 19 people were killed and 135 injured in a crush that occurred when too many tickets were sold for a FIFA World Cup qualifier.
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