Nine dead as high wind topples stage at Mexican campaign rally

23 May 2024, 15:34

Security forces stand around a stage that collapsed due to a gust of wind during an event attended by Mexican presidential candidate Jorge Alvarez Maynez on the outskirts of Monterey
Mexico Election. Picture: PA

The stage was sent flying by a strong gust of wind during an event attended by presidential long-shot candidate Jorge Alvarez Maynez.

The collapse of a stage during an election campaign rally in northern Mexico has killed at least nine people, including a child, and injured 121, the country’s governor has said.

The stage was sent flying by a strong gust of wind during an event attended by presidential long-shot candidate Jorge Alvarez Maynez.

The victims “will not be alone in this tragedy”, Mr Maynez told reporters on Wednesday night, adding that he had suspended upcoming campaign events.

Security forces stand around the collapsed stage
The stage collapsed during an election campaign rally in northern Mexico (Alberto Lopez/AP)

Afterwards, soldiers, police and other officials roamed the grounds of the park where the event took place while many nearby sat stunned and haunted by the tragedy.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he “sends a hug to family members, friends of the victims and political supporters”.

Videos of the collapse appeared on social media on Wednesday night, showing people screaming, running away, and climbing out from under metal polls.

Mr Maynez wrote in his social media accounts that he went to a hospital after the accident at a campaign rally in the wealthy suburb of San Pedro Garza Garcia, near the city of Monterrey.

Electoral signs lay on the ground as security forces secure the area after the incident
Electoral signs lay on the ground as security forces secured the area after the collapse (Alberto Lopez/AP)

He said there were “victims” of the dramatic crash while he was well.

“The only important thing at this point is to care for the victims of the accident,” he wrote.

Samuel Garcia, the governor of the northern border state of Nuevo Leon and a leading member of Alvarez Maynez’s Citizens Movement party, said in a taped statement that “unfortunately, there are (people) injured”.

Miguel Trevino, the mayor of San Pedro Garza Garcia, wrote on his social media accounts that “there are people reported trapped and injured. My prayers are with the victims”.

Mr Garcia said the “strong winds blew down a stage at a campaign closer”.

Events are being held in anticipation of the June 2 presidential, state and municipal elections.

Relief workers and security forces stand next to electoral posters after the stage collapse
Relief workers and security forces attended the scene (Alberto Lopez/AP)

Video of the accident posted on social media showed Mr Maynez waving his arm as the crowd chanted his name. But then he saw a giant screen and metal structure toppling toward him.

Mr Maynez ran rapidly toward the back of the stage to avoid the falling structure, which appeared to consist of relatively light framework pieces and what appeared to be a screen with the party’s logo and theatre-style lights.

He has been running third in presidential race polls, trailing front-runner Claudia Sheinbaum of the ruling Morena Party and opposition coalition candidate Xochitl Galvez.

The campaign has been plagued by the killings of about two dozen candidates for local offices.

By Press Association

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