Cambodia Stampede: Water Festival Surge Kills Hundreds
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia’s prime minister says more than 300 people have been killed in a stampede in the capital.
Thousands of Cambodians were celebrating a water festival on an island in a river in the capital Monday night when the press of the crowd caused some to panic. In the chaos, some tried to flee over a bridge, and many fell over its sides into the water.
The area was littered with hundreds of injured.
Prime Minister Hun Sen has made several live broadcasts Monday night. In his latest one, he said that 339 people had been killed and 329 injured.
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Thousands of Cambodians celebrating a water festival on an island in a river in the capital stampeded Monday night, leaving at least 190 people dead and the area littered with hundreds of injured. As the panic grew, the crowd tried to flee over a bridge, and many fell over its sides into the water.
Ambulances raced back and forth between the river and the hospitals for several hours after the stampede, while onlookers and relatives waited outside the medical facilities. Many of the injured appeared to be badly hurt, raising the prospect that the death toll could rise sharply as local hospitals could easily become overwhelmed.
Hours after the chaos, hundreds of shoes still lay on the bridge over the Tonle Sap river and the area underneath. Searchers looked for bodies of anyone who might have drowned, and an AP reporter saw one body floating in the river.
Prime Minister Hun Sen made two live television broadcasts after midnight, giving a preliminary death toll of 181 that he later increased to 190. The website of the newspaper Kampuchea Thmey cited Gen. Sao Sokha, chief of the military police, as saying the death toll could be close to 300, according to information from four hospitals to which bodies were taken.
Authorities had estimated that upward of 2 million people would descend on Phnom Penh for the three-day water festival, which marks the end of the rainy season and whose main attraction is traditional boat races along the river.