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73 Dead in Stampede at Philippines Sports Stadium


Seventy three people have been killed and scores injured in a stampede in the Philippine capital of Manila. The victims were among thousands waiting outside a sports stadium to see the taping of a popular television show.

It is not clear what caused the stampede among some 30,000 people waiting to get into the Philsports Arena in the Manila suburb of Pasig early Saturday morning, although witnesses were quoted as saying someone in the crowd shouted "bomb."

Other reports suggested the crowd surged forward when tickets began being handed out. Many had been camped outside the stadium for several days, hoping to watch the first anniversary edition of a popular TV game show.

Government spokesman Ignacio Bunye says President Gloria Arroyo has ordered authorities to aid the victims.

"The president shares the grief of the families during the tragic stampede this morning, and the president has ordered the National Disaster Coordinating Center to take steps to alleviate the plight of the victims," he said.

Organizers of the show were planning to give away lavish prizes - including money, a car, and a house - to celebrate the anniversary.

After the stampede, authorities collected bodies and lined them up inside the stadium for identification, while distraught relatives searched the stadium grounds and hospitals for their loved ones. The injured were taken to nearby hospitals.

Government spokesman Bunye says Mrs. Arroyo will order an investigation to find out who is responsible for the disaster.

"The president would like to get to the bottom of things at a later date to pinpoint responsibility and to prevent a repeat of this mishap," he explained.

The majority of the people in the Philippines live in abject poverty, and slums fill the areas in and around Manila.

Reports from Manila said the crowd included thousands of the poor, who were hoping for a seat inside the stadium and a chance to win what, in their case, would be fabulous prizes.

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