Ivory Coast: Over 60 Dead in New Year Celebration Fireworks

By Robyn Dixon; LATimes
January 1, 2013, 9:07 a.m.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — At least 60 people died and about 200 were injured Tuesday in a stampede that followed a fireworks display at a football stadium in the Ivory Coast capital, Abidjan, according to emergency officials.

Most of the dead and injured were children and teenagers.

The stampede happened in the early hours of the morning as crowds were leaving the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium after a New Year’s Eve fireworks display ended about 2 a.m. It is not known what triggered the stampede, officials said.

Local television RTI reported that the crowd panicked after the fireworks ended, triggering the massing of people in the Plateau neighborhood, the downtown area of Abidjan.

“In the crush, people were walked over and suffocated by the crowd,” Issa Sako, head of the military rescue effort, told RTI. Distraught parents combed hospitals and morgues searching for their children.

“I saw all the bodies, but I cannot find my son. I don’t know what to do,” said one parent, Mamadou Sanogo, of her 9-year-old boy, according to local French-language news website L’infodrome. Read more…