Seven people are dead after a live electrical wire fell onto a gathering of people watching football in southern Nigeria, police said Friday, but residents said the death toll was higher. Cross River state police spokeswoman Irene Ugbo said another 10 people were critically injured after the wire fell on the roof of a football viewing center in Calabar city on Thursday night.
Resident Ukeme Joseph put the death toll at 20 instead, saying more than 80 people were crammed inside at the time. They had been watching a Manchester United match. Manchester United on Friday said in a tweet that the team’s thoughts go out to those affected by the tragedy.
The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company has not commented on the incident, but authorities have said it is illegal to erect structures under high-tension cables. “It was heart-wrenching that the lives of the young men were lost through electrocution,” the state’s governor, Ben Ayade, said in a statement. The statement did not mention a death toll. Many Nigerians prefer to watch football games at the viewing centers, for a small fee, instead of watching at home.