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Friday, May 7, 2021

Flash flood kills seven fans at a football match in Morocco

At least seven people watching a local football match in a southern Moroccan village have died in a flash flood that swept across the football field, the official MAP news agency said Thursday.

Wednesday’s flash flood suddenly caused a nearby river to swell suddenly, pushing torrents of water over the football field in Tizert, in the Taroudant region, where an amateur match was being played.

Spectators scrambled for their lives, some climbing on roofs, but at least seven people died, including a 17-year-old boy, MAP reported. An elderly man was injured.

Among the victims was recently married Hanafi Hilali, 35, who was seeking refuge on top of a dressing room but was swept away by the roaring waters, his brother Mohamed Hilali said.

The two had become trapped on the field, but Mohammed raced to rescue his son and his cousin, both young children.

“What happened was horrific, shocking. I could not return to rescue my brother,” he said in a phone interview, weeping as he recounted the scene.

An official investigation has been opened.

Morocco’s national weather service had warned of risks of bad weather in several regions of the country.

Heavy rains in remote regions of the North African kingdom left 15 people dead in July. Their van was buried under 20 meters (65 feet) of earth in a landslide triggered by heavy rainfall on a route south of Marrakech.

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