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Sunday, 16 June 2024
Nine dead as stage collapses at Mexico election rally

Nine dead as stage collapses at Mexico election rally

International Desk

At least nine people have been killed, including a child, and about 50 have been injured after part of a stage collapsed at an election rally in Mexico's northern Nuevo León state, the local governor has said.

The incident occurred as centre-left presidential candidate Jorge Alvarez Maynez was delivering a speech in the city of San Pedro Garza Garcia, near Monterrey, reports BBC.

Mr Maynez was uninjured in the collapse, and was seen speaking to supporters following the incident. Several members of his team had been hurt, he said.

The collapse was caused by a sudden gust of wind, Mr Maynez said in a post on X.

Footage has emerged apparently showing the moment the lighting structure collapsed as a number of people were on the stage.

Video posted on social media showed Mr Maynez waving to his supporters and then running to the back of the stage for safety as he realised part of the structure was toppling over.

People can also be heard screaming and running from the stage.

''First I saw the musicians' drums, from the group that was going to play, were going to get blown away," Mr Maynez said.

"When the others noticed, they ran in different directions; some jumped to the sides and I jumped back," he added.

The sudden gust of wind came without forewarning, Mr Maynez said, describing it as an "atypical [weather] event".

"What we experienced happened in just a few seconds: A gale came, a sudden wind, and unfortunately, it collapsed the stage, resulting in a fatal accident,” he told reporters at the scene.

The victims were eight adults and one child, State Governor Samuel Garcia said.

Three of those injured required surgery, he added, following a visit to a local hospital.

Posting on social media, Mr Garcia urged local residents to stay indoors because of thunderstorms and strong winds in the area.

"If you can, avoid going out because there are storms and atypical winds. I will keep you informed," he wrote on X.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he was sending "a hug to family members, friends of the victims and political supporters".

Mr Maynez, 38, is the candidate of the Citizens' Movement party and is currently trailing in third place in national polls behind Claudia Sheinbaum of the ruling Morena Party and Xóchitl Gálvez, from the opposition coalition.

Mr Garcia was the Citizens' Movement Party's original candidate, but nominated his campaign co-ordinator Mr Maynez instead after a dispute over who would step in as governor while he campaigned. Mexican law requires officials to step down if they run for office.

As a result, Mr Maynez entered the presidential race in January - a relatively late start compared with Ms Sheinbaum and Ms Gálvez's September entries.

His previous role as campaign co-ordinator means he is relatively unknown against the two front-runners.

Mr Maynez announced that he would suspended upcoming campaign events, and Ms Sheinbaum said she had cancelled an appearance in nearby Monterrey on Thursday.

“My condolences and prayers with the families of the dead, and my wishes for a speedy recovery to all those injured,” Ms Gálvez wrote on social media.

The lead-up to the election, which is due to take place on June 2, has been among the most deadly in Mexico's history.

A recent survey by Mexican political consultancy firm Integralia said some 200 public servants, politicians and candidates have been murdered or threatened in the lead up to the poll. There have been no reported incidents at campaign events.

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