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Hundreds hurt as stadium roof collapses

SARI, Iran -- At least 15 football fans have been killed and hundreds others injured after a stadium collapsed in Iran.

The incident happened on Sunday in the Iranian city of Sari, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

The roof at the Mottaqi Stadium is believed to have collapsed during a televised match.

IRNA did not give an exact number of people injured, saying only that "hundreds" were hurt.

Tehran television, which was showing the game live, suddenly cut off transmission after the accident.

Local journalist Shirzad Bozogmehr, who spoke to witnesses at the scene, told CNN: "At least 15 people are dead and the injuries of many of the wounded are very serious.

"It is expected that the number of fatalities will rise.

"Spectators and players said more than 25,000 people were crammed into the 15,000-capacity stadium.

"A number of spectators reportedly sat on top of temporary scaffolding causing it to collapse over the heads of the people below."

An operator at the Bu Ali Hospital, in Sari, said that the injured were packed into the hallways and even in the courtyard.

He said many of the injuries were critical

IRNA said rescue efforts were being hampered by the number of spectators, who were watching the match between first division sides Pirouzi and Shamushak.

Sari, in northern Mazandaran province, is located 250 kilometres (155 miles) southeast of the capital, Tehran.

Last month 43 football fans died in a stampede at the Ellis Park stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa.



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