Tragedy strikes at Iranian football stadium May 06 2001

Tehran - Several people were killed and hundreds more injured when a roof collapsed on top of spectators at a sports stadium in the northern Iranian city of Sari on Sunday, the official IRNA news agency reported.

IRNA quoted witnesses as saying around 20 000 spectators had been at the stadium watching a soccer game between Iran's main soccer club, Pirouzi, and a local team when the roof collapsed.

IRNA's English-language service quoted its correspondent on the scene as saying "several people" had been killed and hundreds injured.

IRNA had earlier said that the large number of people at the stadium was hampering rescue operations.

State television broadcast footage showing thousands of people running in different directions, apparently trying to flee the stadium. Others were seen pointing in the direction of the affected area while some were trying to help the victims.

Rescue teams with stretchers tried to make their way through the crowds to the scene.

The television said around 100 people had been rushed to hospitals and that the roof had collapsed during the half-time break. It said authorities had set up a committee to investigate the accident.

Officials in the city were not immediately available to comment.