March 18th, 2012
06:42 PM ET

Overcrowding at Coptic pope's viewing leads to 3 deaths, dozens of injuries

Overcrowding inside a cathedral where Coptic Christians had gathered to pay last respects to their pope caused a stampede that left three people dead and more than 50 injured, a health official said.

Coptic Pope Shenouda III, who led the Coptic community for more than four decades, died Saturday. He was 88.

On Sunday, thousands of Christians paid their respects to him at the Coptic cathedral in Cairo where his body went on display in an elaborate golden crown and red and golden robes. The mass of people inside the cathedral prompted the stampede, according to Deputy Health Minister Hisham Sheeha, who said three were killed and 52 injured, most suffering from lack of oxygen and low blood pressure.

Shenouda's funeral will be held early this week and is expected to bring millions of Christians onto the streets of Egypt at a time when tensions with the Muslim majority are high.

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Filed under: Egypt
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. bobcat2u

    This is really getting crazy. Have these people got the mentality of cattle ? I mean you hear about people over there getting trampled in these people stampedes all the time. Maybe we should send some cowboys over there so they can round up those little doggies.

    March 18, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Perhaps they lack those pretty little red velvet rope barriers.

      Seriously, condolences to the families of those killed.

      March 18, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat2u

      Absolutely. My condolences also. But man, it's hard to wrap my brain around how these people act. That's really taking piousness to the extreme.

      March 18, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I don't recall is there was any stampede after Pope JP II passed.

      People used to be stampeded at the Beatle's concerts too...I think masses of people pressing forward is a recipe for disaster...witness las Black Tuesday when little old ladies were getting trampled.

      Those elegant, red velvet ropes.
      Useful at both red-carpet events, banks, and funerals.

      March 18, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BOMBO ©

    I think Khomein's funeral is still a record holder. Mostly due to the heat and the massive crowds, but partly due to the army firing into the crowd after Khomeini's coffin got knocked down and his body rolled out. Good times, good times....

    March 19, 2012 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
  3. ma & pa

    Egypt was a country of Coptic Christians until Islam overran and massacred them, or "converted" them at the point of the sword–"Submit or Die". If you don't belive that, check the history while still free to do so. Tolerance has made a good difference there now.

    March 19, 2012 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sofa King

    Was he King of the Popes?

    March 19, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |