BY ARCHIBONG EYO, CALABAR –
Tragedy struck in Calabar on Thursday night when over 30 football fans were feared to have lost their lives watching the UEFA Europa League quarter-final encounter between Manchester United and Belgian club, Anderlecht on satellite television.
The tragic event occurred at Nyang-Asang community in Atimbo area of Calabar Municipality where Access High School, the secondary section is located.
Our correspondent reports that the victims were electrocuted when one of the high tension cables fell on the roof of the viewing centre constructed with Zinc materials.
Eyewitness accounts said it was the popular first transformer in the area that had a spark and the deadly cable came down on the Zinc cubicle built under the High tension installation. “In the ensuing commotion, the people, mostly youngsters, were trapped and burnt beyond recognition in the incident as help could not readily come due to the late hour of the match that went into extra-time”, the eyewitness told Forefront.
The man, who could not hold back tears, said the incident was quite shocking and such a huge disaster which many affected families and the community will find it hard to overcome easily. “I must confess that the incident has sadly deprived us of many enterprising young men and women with huge potentials to make it in life”, one of the grief-stricken community members, Tony Odok told our correspondent.
According to him, the policemen came to the scene later on trying to evacuate both the dead and the wounded to the nearby University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH).
It was United that won the match 2-1 to go through 3-2 on aggregate, with teenage striker, Marcus Rashford scoring the winner in about the 20th minute of extra-time.