Stadium Deaths Linked To Fake Tickets

At least eight people died at an overcrowded soccer match in Monrovia, Liberia, June 1st.

The 33,000-capacity Samuel K. Doe stadium was hosting the World Cup qualifying match between Liberia and Gambia, but the facility was packed beyond capacity in part because of thousands of people using fraudulent tickets.

The crowd pushed up against a metal bar in the stadium, causing the bar to snap and sending dozens onto the floor below, crushing people beneath.

"Spectators tried all sorts of means to save [them], but could not help," Liberian Red Cross rescue worker Emmanuel Johnson said.

United Nations peacekeepers had closed the gates of the stadium when it became clear that the facility was already beyond capacity. Fake ticket holders entered the gates, stranding real ticket holders outside.

Sources told Africa’s Afrol News that even police were selling tickets, making it more difficult for stadium officials to differentiate between the real and fake tickets. Officials apparently allowed too many people in before they realized their mistake.

Ticketing company COMIUM told the country’s Daily Observer there was no truth to the rumor that it had overprinted tickets.

Johnson put the death toll at 10; a doctor and aid worker said at least eight people died.