Mexico stage collapse at campaign rally kills at least 9, including child

At least nine people were killed, including a child, when strong wind toppled a stage at a campaign rally on Wednesday in northern Mexico, officials said. Another 63 people were hurt in the collapse. 

The collapse occurred in the wealthy suburb of San Pedro Garza Garcia, near the city of Monterrey, in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon. It happened during an event attended by presidential long-shot candidate Jorge Álvarez Máynez, who ran to escape.

Videos of the collapse on social media showed people screaming, running away and climbing out from under metal poles.

The victims "will not be alone in this tragedy," Máynez told reporters Wednesday night, adding that he had suspended upcoming campaign events.

After the stage collapse, soldiers, police and other officials roamed the grounds of the park where the event took place, while many nearby sat stunned and haunted by the tragedy, according to the Associated Press. 

Footage shows the scene on stage at the rally, and the chaos and panic that followed the collapse, on May 22, 2024, in Mexico’s Nuevo Leon state. Credit: Anonymous via Storyful

Footage shows chaos and panic that followed the collapse, on May 22, 2024, in Mexico’s Nuevo Leon state. Credit: Anonymous via Storyful

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he "sends a hug to family members, friends of the victims and political supporters." Condolences poured in from across Mexico, including by other presidential candidates.

In a video message, Nuevo Leon Gov. Samuel Garcia, a leading member of Máynez’s Citizens Movement party, asked residents to shelter in their houses for the next two hours.

Máynez wrote in his social media accounts that he went to a hospital after the accident. He said he was in good condition.

"The only important thing at this point is to care for the victims of the accident," Máynez wrote.

Videos of the accident showed Máynez waving his arm as the crowd chanted his name. But then he looked up to see a giant screen and metal structure toppling toward him. He ran rapidly toward the back of the stage to avoid the falling structure, which appeared to consist of relatively light framework pieces as well as what appeared to be a screen with the party’s logo and theater-style lights.

Mexico’s campaign season plagued by violence

Máynez has been running third in polls in the presidential race, trailing both front-runner Claudia Sheinbaum of the ruling Morena Party and opposition coalition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez. 

Both sent their condolences, and Sheinbaum canceled a campaign event in nearby Monterrey the next day "in solidarity" with victims and their loved ones.

"My condolences and prayers with the families of the dead, and my wishes for a speedy recovery to all those injured," wrote Gálvez in a social media post.

The accident happened at the height of campaign season, with many events held this week and next in anticipation of the June 2 presidential, state and municipal elections.

The campaign has so far been plagued by the killings of about two dozen candidates for local offices. Last week, a mayoral candidate and five other people were killed when gunmen opened fire at a campaign rally in the violence-wracked southern Mexico state of Chiapas, officials said.

This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.