Three killed, 39 injured in Brazil stampede

None | ByIndo-Asian News Service, Rio De Janeiro
Feb 06, 2006 11:45 AM IST

Panic broke out among fans during a session of autograph signing by a Mexican pop group in Sao Paulo.

Three people, including a 13-year-old girl, were killed and nearly 40 injured in a stampede triggered by autograph hunters at a Brazilian shopping centre.

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Panic broke out among fans during a session of autograph signing by a Mexican pop group in Sao Paulo. The 39 people reported injured included two who remained in a critical condition on Sunday.

The stampede broke out among fans waiting for autographs from youth group RBD in a car park of the shopping centre.

Most of the dead and injured were children and teenagers. Parents looking for missing children roamed the Shopping Fiesta centre for hours in despair, reports said.

Two of the fatalities, the 13-year-old girl and a 25-year-old woman, were identified on Sunday.

"Everybody was screaming out of pain and fright," said Julia, a 12-year-old survivor of the stampede. "It was horrible."

RBD grew out of a Mexican television soap opera that has gained a massive following among children and teenagers since 2004 across Latin America.

It was not immediately known what set off the Sao Paolo panic, in which a metal barrier was destroyed. Police said poor organisation and the catastrophic overcrowding of fans into a small space were possibly responsible for the tragedy.

The space rented for the autograph signing and a short concert had a capacity of 100 people.

Even before the event got under way, by some estimates 10,000 to 15,000 people had assembled at the car park in sweltering heat.

Many fans had been waiting there since Friday evening.

A city official called for legal action against the sponsors of the autograph session, a supermarket chain and a television channel.

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