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21 Jun 2024 17:08
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  •   Home > News > International

    Strong winds topple stage at political rally in northern Mexico, killing at least nine people

    The collapse occurred during an event in Nuevo Leon attended by presidential long-shot candidate Jorge Álvarez Máynez, who ran to escape.


    A high gust of wind toppled the stage at a political campaign rally in northern Mexico on Wednesday, killing at least nine people, injuring dozens and trapping others, the state governor said.

    The collapse occurred during an event in Nuevo Leon attended by presidential long-shot candidate Jorge Álvarez Máynez, who ran to escape.

    Videos of the incident on social media showed people screaming, running away and climbing out from under metal poles.

    The victims included three women, one man and a girl, Mr Máynez later told reporters, having returned to the scene of the accident after being cleared at a local hospital.

    "I've never experienced something so sudden," he said, referring to how quickly the wind picked up before the stage collapsed.

    The victims "will not be alone in this tragedy", Mr Máynez added, later indicating he had suspended upcoming campaign events.

    "The only important thing at this point is to care for the victims of the accident."

    Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he "sends a hug to family members, friends of the victims and political supporters", while condolences poured in from across Mexico, including from other presidential candidates.

    In a video message, Nuevo Leon Governor Samuel Garcia, a leading member of Mr Máynez's Citizens' Movement party, asked residents to shelter in their houses for the two hours after the incident.

    He provided the death toll of at least five — later upping it to nine — and said some 70 people were hospitalised.

    He said he would meet with security and civil protection officials at the government palace early on Thursday.

    Videos of the accident show Mr Máynez waving his arm as the crowd chants his name, before he looks up to see a giant screen and metal structure toppling toward him.

    He runs rapidly toward the back of the stage to avoid the falling structure, which appeared to consist of relatively light framework pieces as well as a screen with the party's logo and theatre-style lights.

    Campaign events are being held this week and next week across Mexico in anticipation of the June 2 presidential, state and municipal elections.

    Mr Máynez has been running third in polls in the presidential race, trailing both front-runner Claudia Sheinbaum of the ruling Morena Party, and opposition coalition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez.

    The campaign has so far been plagued by the killings of about two dozen candidates for local offices. But it has not been marred by campaign accidents, up to this point.

    AP/ABC

    © 2024 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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