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Seven college students died when a railing they were leaning against broke, sending them plummeting to the concrete floor below.

The tragic incident happened at the Public University of El Alto in Bolivia on Tuesday.

About 100 maskless students were protesting in a packed hallway outside a lecture hall where a tense meeting was being held.

Fights broke out and some of the students were jostling each other when the railing gave way.

Seven students were pronounced dead at the scene. Five students are in critical condition at a hospital.

Disturbing video footage, captured by a bystander showed the moment before the railing broke. A dozen students fell to the concrete floor while a few students were pulled to safety.

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A female student in a blue blouse dangled precariously over the edge before her fellow students grabbed her shoes and pulled her back up.

Two female students fortunately landed on the floor just below where the railing broke.

An investigation has been ordered into the accident.

Engineering standards in the United States require balconies to withstand 100 pounds per square feet of load while railings must withstand 200 pounds of force at any point along the railing.

But construction projects are not up to code in third world countries.

CAUTION: These videos contain graphic images that may be disturbing to some viewers.