At least five dead as stage collapses during political rally in northeast Mexico

A stage collapse has left at least five people dead and around 50 people injured in northern Mexico’s Nuevo Leon, where a campaign event was disrupted by a heavy storm on Wednesday evening.

The violent storm tore through the hoarding and stage setup at a political rally for presidential candidate Jorge Alvarez Maynez, sending it crashing into the crowd of supporters for the Citizen’s Movement party, the state governor said.

Governor Samuel Garcia said around 50 people were injured. Several more are feared trapped under the stage, officials added.

Preliminary visuals of the incident showed a thick gust of wind toppling over the stage in a matter of seconds as people were heard screaming and running to escape from metal poles holding the stage together.

Mr Alvarez Maynez was on the stage when the collapse occurred, and was seen escaping as the hoarding came down.

The candidate said he was “OK” after being taken to a local hospital, but that members of his team were hurt and he was suspending his campaign activities.

The victims “will not be alone in this tragedy”, he said.

“The only important thing at this point is to care for the victims of the accident,” he wrote on X after the accident in the plush suburb of San Pedro Garza Garcia near the city of Monterrey.

A video of the incident showed Mr Alvarez Maynez cheerfully waving as the crowd chanted his name. Gusts of wind then start to pick up, and the candidate can be seen looking up at the giant screen behind him and its metal structure.

He rapidly ran towards the backstage area, away from the toppling screen, as the falling structure landed in the thick of the crowd. The screen was brightly lit by flashy theatre-style lights which also came crashing down, along with their metal support poles.

Mr Alvarez Maynez has been running third in polls in the presidential race, trailing both front-runner Claudia Sheinbaum of the ruling Morena Party, and opposition coalition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez.

Several police officials, soldiers and other officials were later seen inspecting the grounds of the park where the event was held as many witnesses from the crowd, visibly still in shock, were seen sitting nearby.

Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador expressed his condolences and said he “sends a hug to family members, friends of the victims and political supporters.”

Mexico is seeing a final flurry of campaign events this week and next ahead of the 2 June presidential, state and municipal elections.

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