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'Pure Panic': 9 Killed In Stage Collapse During Election Rally In Mexico

The event was the closing campaign rally for Citizens’ Movement candidate.

Mexico City:

An election rally in northern Mexico descended into tragedy after a gust of wind sent the stage careening into the crowd on Wednesday night, killing at least nine people, including a child, authorities said.

At least 50 other people were injured in the accident, some seriously, according to Nuevo Leon Governor Samuel Garcia.

Footage of the incident showed a chaotic scramble as people screamed and tried to leap away from the collapsing structure while the lights and a giant screen toppled onto the area where presidential candidate Jorge Alvarez Maynez and members of his Citizens’ Movement party were standing.

“I regret to report that so far the number of people killed in the accident stands at eight adults and one minor,” Governor Garcia wrote on social media platform X, adding that at least three people were undergoing surgery.

Speaking to the press from the scene of the accident in the town of San Pedro Garza Garcia, he described the accident as “a tragedy.”

Presidential longshot Maynez, who escaped without serious injury, said the stage collapsed after a strong gust of wind.

“I am fine and in communication with the authorities” over what happened, the 38-year-old wrote on X, adding that the priority was to take care of the victims.

Medical teams carted bodies on orange stretchers into waiting vans as soldiers roamed a field littered with debris and muddied campaign posters.

Rally attendee Jose Juan said he saw the structure come crashing down.

“It hit me on the head and I fainted. The rest was pure hysteria, pure panic,” he told broadcaster Televisa.

Citizen’s Movement member Javier Gonzalez-Alcantara told Televisa that first responders had to pull people trapped underneath the collapsed pavilion.

“All the people who were under the stage were rescued and the injured were taken to the hospitals,” he said.

Mexico’s meteorological service had warned of heavy rain, wind gusts of up to 70 kilometers (43 miles) per hour and possible tornadoes in Nuevo Leon and other northern states on Wednesday night.

Governor Garcia urged people to avoid going outside because of the storms.

‘Condolences and prayers’

The event was the closing campaign rally for Citizens’ Movement candidate for mayor of San Pedro Garza Garcia, Lorenia Canavati.

Candidates for the centrist party at the senate and local level also participated.

Presidential hopeful Maynez, who suspended his upcoming campaign events to remain in San Pedro Garza Garcia, said that he would stay at the scene until the last injured person was taken to the hospital.

Some members of his team were receiving medical treatment, he said, without specifying their injuries.

In a post on social media, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador offered his sympathies and said he was “sending a hug” to the family members and friends of the victims.

The other two presidential candidates also expressed solidarity with those affected.

Frontrunner Claudia Sheinbaum said that she was canceling a rally planned for Thursday in Monterrey, and expressed “solidarity with the family and friends of the victims.”

Main opposition presidential candidate Xochitl Galvez offered “condolences and prayers” to the families of those killed and “wishes for a speedy recovery to all the injured.”

On June 2, Mexicans will vote for a new president as well as members of Congress, several state governors and local officials.

According to the polls, Maynez lags behind both Sheinbaum and Galvez, trailing at a distant third just weeks before the election.

The lead-up to election day has been marred by violence, with more than two dozen politicians killed since the electoral process began last September, according to research group Data Civica.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)