A graphic video showed students shoving each other moments before seven students plummeted to their deaths after a section of the railing broke at the Public University of El Alto (UPEA), in a city near La Paz, Bolivia. The tragic incident left seven students dead and injured three others.
In a statement Health Minister Jayson Auza said: "From this accident, seven have died and five are in a critical state, some of them stabilized." Initially the number of dead students were reported as five. However, the total was increased following a reviewal from the Health Ministry.
Students Were Leaning Against the Railing
Several clips of the incident have gone viral on the social media sites showing different angles of the accident and the blood-spattered floor from the accident site. The injured and deceased students are in the age group of 20-24.
According to the New York Post, the incident, which took place on Tuesday, occurred on the fourth floor of the university's financial sciences building. Hundreds of students were attempting to enter a lecture hall moments before the tragedy struck.
The videos show the students struggling and pushing each other to gain a footing in the jampacked corridor. Several students are also seen leaning against the red-colored railing installed on the floors.
One girl was also seen pushing and jostling another student just moments before a section of the railing gave away. The students are seen floating in the air before hitting the floor in the fatal fall with a large thud. The clip also showed a student dangling in the air as others try to pull her up.
Police to Question the Girl in the Video
The Sun reported that a girl, who was seen pushing another student just seconds before the railing broke will be investigated. Bolivarian Police general commander Jhonny Aguilera Montecinos said that a young woman filmed in a struggle with another on the balcony will be summoned for questioning, the outlet reported.
"Three supervisors will be summoned and they will offer their statement to collaborate in establishing the causes that motivated the massive concentration of university students. After knowing the circumstances, those who identify videos of the security cameras that were already provided to us by the university will be notified," he added.
A statement from the university said that a seven-day mourning is declared at the Public University of El Alto due to the unfortunate events that occurred on the morning of this day, March 2.
Bolivian President Luis Arce said: "We regret the tragedy that occurred at the Public University of #ElAlto (UPEA), where there were several deaths and injuries. Our deepest condolences to the people of El Alto and to the suffering families. We await the prompt clarification of the facts."