Vicente Eusebio, the mayor of Pasig, a Manila suburb where the stampede occurred early on Saturday, said tens of thousands of people were waiting to enter the stadium to watch a popular TV game show when the problems started.
Red Cross officials said that 88 people had been confirmed dead, many of them elderly women. But Francisco Duque, the health secretary, told Reuters that there had been some double-counting of victims and that 73 people had died. He also put the number of those injured at 353.
Police said the crush at the Ultra stadium came when organisers of the first anniversary celebration of the game show Wowowee began handing out tickets to people, many of whom had been camping outside for days.
Police said the victims were trampled when someone in the crowd shouted “bomb”.
Body line up
Nimfa Santos had been waiting for tickets with a group of women. She told a local radio station: “We were happy. We only wanted to have fun and then this thing happened. I don’t know what happened to the others.”
“We were happy. We only wanted to have fun and then this thing happened”
Bodies of the victims were lined up on the street outside the stadium, their faces covered with sheets and blankets.
Alberto Herrera said on radio: “My mum died. Please help me. I don’t know what to do.”
Although dozens of people were hurt, Eusebio said he did not expect the death toll to rise.
The game show, organised by ABS-CBN TV network, is popular in the Philippines because it offers big prizes, such as cars and money.
People had lined up for two days to get tickets.