Fans Suffocated at Overcrowded Stadium During Soccer Match in Liberia

At least eight people suffocated at an overcrowded stadium during a soccer match between Liberia and Gambia on Sunday, a doctor and an aid worker said.

The 33,000-seat Samuel K. Doe stadium in Monrovia was packed beyond capacity for the World Cup qualifying match.

United Nations peacekeepers—stationed in Liberia since the end of the country's civil war five years ago—had closed the gates of the stadium more than two hours before game time when they realized the stadium already was beyond capacity.

Details surrounding the deaths were not immediately available.

According to reports, many people entered the stadium illegally using fraudulent tickets, leaving thousands of actual ticket holders stranded outside, creating a melee at the gates.

There also was a rush at another wing of the stadium where several people were crushed, said Liberian Red Cross rescue worker Emmanuel Johnson.

The Liberian Football Association's chief doctor Sam Harris said the bodies of the eight dead were taken to the country's main hospital. Johnson put the death toll at 10.

There was no immediate way to reconcile the conflicting tolls.