KINSHASA – At least 11 people died in a stampede that took place at a New Year’s Eve celebration on a beach close to the town of Muanda, to the southwest of the Democratic Republic of Congo, local authorities said on Tuesday.
A beach fight and an impending rainstorm provoked a mass rush attempting to abandon the area, but the only exit from the beach was a single staircase, officials told EFE.
“People began pushing, some fell over, followed by others trampling over them,” said Luis Iloma, head of a human rights platforms in the western, coastal province of Kongo Central, where Muanda is located, during a telephone interview with EFE.
Iloma explained that an unspecified number of casualties had been taken to the city’s hospital.
He also said the tragedy could have been avoided if the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature, responsible for beach maintenance in the area, had taken enough precautions to guarantee the safety of the revelers as every year a large number of partygoers attend the New Year celebrations on the beach.
“It is the institute’s responsibility, but it did not take the necessary measures to guarantee tourist’s safety,” Iloma added.