Local media in Nigeria is reporting that up to 30 Manchester United fans were electrocuted while watching the club’s Europa League clash on Thursday night.
The incident occurred at a viewing centre in the city of Calabar.
According to witnesses, a flash of light from a transformer was seen. This sent fans scurrying, packing them together before a “high tension” cable fell on them.
Reports say that there were 80 people in the building at the time. 28 of the victims died on the spot while two more died in the hospital. About 50 others were injured, Today reported.
Police had however confirmed only seven deaths while 11 more were being treated in local hospitals, one of them in intensive care, the BBC reported.
A witness during an interview with a local television described how the disaster occurred.
“I was sitting at the front seats when I saw the reflection form the transformer,” he said.
“I was the first person to run outside. Everybody saw the reflection of the light from the transformer. Everybody was running to go out from the door. As they were running, everybody was jam-packing themselves. Because the high tension (cable) fall on top, (it) contacted everybody there,” he added.
The government as promised to investigate the incident which they described as a horrifying tragedy.
Governor Ben Ayade said: “The incident marks a dark chapter in the life of the state where the precious lives of football lovers have been lost. At this point in time, it is sad to know that the victims lost their lives at a viewing centre where they usually converge, at their leisure time to watch their matches.’’
The club through its Twitter account has offered its condolences.
Our thoughts go out to the United fans, their friends and families affected by the tragedy in Calabar, Nigeria, yesterday. pic.twitter.com/WGnHAxpjMV
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 21, 2017
The UK High Commission in Nigeria said: “Our deepest sympathy for the loss of lives in Calabar during a Europa League football match between Manchester United and Anderlecht”.