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The BBC's Focus on Africa editor Ben Malor
"I don't recall a tragedy of this magnitude happening in Ghana before"
 real 56k

Ghana's Information Minister Elizabeth Ohene
"It is a very very distressing night"
 real 28k

Ghanaian Cronicle's Kofi Coomson
"The mortuaries are overflowing"
 real 28k

Stan Dogbe, of Joy FM radio station in Accra
was at the match
 real 28k

Thursday, 10 May, 2001, 11:29 GMT 12:29 UK
Ghana tragedy: How it happened
Victims of Ghana's worst sporting tragedy
Many of the victims were still wearing their club colours
Africa's worst sporting disaster began when home team Accra Hearts of Oak scored two late goals to beat Asante Kotoko 2-1.

Witnesses say Kotoko fans began destroying the plastic seats at the Accra Sports Stadium and throwing them on to the running track.

In response the police began firing tear gas into the crowd and some fans retaliated with bottles. There are conflicting figures for the amount of tear gas that was actually fired.


It was unfortunate that I lost three of my friends

Hearts fan
As the tear gas spread panic ensued as the fans scrambled for the exits.

Reports say that most of the exits out of the stadium were locked shut compounding the problem and leading to fans being suffocated and crushed to death.

Bodies of the dead and injured were taken to local hospitals by ambulances and private cars.

Saved myself

One fan said: "The whole thing started when supporters of the other side - Asante Kotoko - started breaking the chairs and then throwing the pieces on to the pitch.

"So the police in an attempt to disperse the fans started firing tear gas in to the stands but it seems they over reacted - they fired about 18 to 20 tear gas canisters.

"I also suffered from that tear gas. But what really saved me was that I just removed my shirt and I used it to cover my nose and my mouth.

"So I sat there for 45 minutes to an hour. When the situation was almost calm then I got down."

Friends dead

Another fan managed to get away "by God's grace".

Tragically he lost three of his friends.

He said: "It's painful because I've been watching football with them - we've been travelling to Kumasi, Tamale, Takoradi - everywhere we moved together - but I really miss them."

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See also:

09 May 01 | Africa
Tragedy at Ghana football match
10 May 01 | Sports Talk
How to stop football tragedies?
17 Dec 00 | Football
Violence mars Ghanaian triumph
12 Apr 01 | Football
Football's worst tragedies
12 Apr 01 | Africa
Stadium disaster probe launched
01 May 01 | Africa
Terror of tear gas must end
Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


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