Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Distraught parents combed hospitals and morgues searching for their children after 61 people reported dead and 200 injured in New Year's Eve stampede

distraught parents search hospitals and morgues for missing children

The city for the second consecutive year launched an operation dubbed "Abidjan, illuminated city" to bring light to the main streets in yearend celebrations.

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.

At least 61 people died and more than 200 other injured in the incident, RTI said, citing a provisional report by local firefighters.

Most of the dead and injured were children and teenagers.

"In the crush, people were walked over and suffocated by the crowd," Issa Sako, head of the military rescue effort, told RTI.

"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.

There were blood stains and lost shoes scattered about the scene after dawn, Reuters news service reported.

"My two children came here yesterday. I told them not to come but they didn't listen. They came when I was sleeping. What will I do?" Assetou Toure, a cleaner, told Reuters. She did not know if her children survived.


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