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South African University Stampede Kills One

  • Peter Cobus

Thousands of young students and their parents push their way into the gates of the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, Jan. 10, 2012.

Thousands of young students and their parents push their way into the gates of the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, Jan. 10, 2012.

One person was killed and at least 20 others injured Tuesday when a stampede broke out at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa.

School officials say thousands of prospective students waiting to apply for one of 800 spaces at the school began pressing forward, crushing and trampling people near the front of the line.

The person killed was the mother of one of the students. At least two of those injured were in serious condition.

Many of the prospective students had camped out in line overnight, enduring rain and lack of sleep for a chance at higher education.

Space is tight at South Africa's major universities. The South African Times reports that most schools accept only a few thousand students each year and turn down tens of thousands of applicants.

It says the University of Johannesburg alone received 85,000 applications for 11,000 spaces last year.

Tuesday's stampede stemmed in part from a university decision to accept late applications. Witnesses are criticizing the school for poor crowd control.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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