February 10, 2017 / 9:28 PM / 6 months ago

Stampede at Angolan stadium kills 17, injures scores

LUANDA (Reuters) - At least 17 people died and scores were injured in a stampede at an Angolan football match on Friday when hundreds of supporters stormed the stadium gates, a medical official said.

The crowd in the northern city of Uige pushed against barriers after failing to gain entry before the start of the match, state news agency Angop said.

Many fell and were trampled, it said.

Ernesto Luis, director general of the local hospital, told Reuters people had suffocated in the crush.

"Some people had to walk on top of other people. There were 76 casualties, of whom 17 died," he said. Five of the injured were in a serious condition.

Witnesses said the crowd trying to gain access would have taken the stadium past its 8,000 capacity.

"When we wanted to go in, we found a barrier. The first row of people fell down... I was in the third layer (of people)," said 37-year-old fan João Silva, who survived the crush with a broken foot.

Domingos Vika, 35, who broke a hand, added: "When they gave the opportunity for everyone to come in, we were all packed at the gate already."

The match between Santa Rita de Cássia and Libolo was part of Angola's first division championship.

Police and football officials were not immediately available for comment.

Reporting by Herculano Coroado; Writing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by John Stonestreet

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