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Srok Khmer !
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Scores killed in crowd stampede at Cambodia water festival

Phnom Penh event turns deadly after panicking crowds huddled on a small island pushed over a bridge to the mainland

Rescue workers in Cambodia Cambodian rescue workers carry a victim to safety after festival crowds caused a stampede. Photograph: Mak Remissa/EPA

More then 180 people died in a stampede at a water festival in Phnom Penh tonight, according to Cambodia's prime minister.

Hundreds more were hurt at the event, on a small island, as the crowd panicked and pushed over a bridge to the mainland. Authorities had estimated that more than 2 million people could descend on the capital for the three-day event, whose main attraction is a traditional boat race along the Tonlé Sap river.

The last race ended in the early evening. Panic broke out later on Koh Pich island, where a concert was being held. So Cheata, a soft drinks vendor, said the trouble began when 10 people in the crowd fell unconscious. She said that set off a panic, which then turned into a stampede in which many people were trampled.

Part of the crowd huddled on to a bridge, which jammed solid, causing people to fall under others or off the bridge. So Cheata said she saw hundreds of injured people lying on the ground afterwards.

An official at Calmette hospital, said 17 bodies had been brought there from the riverside. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Police and other official services were unable to provide more details, saying they were too busy attending to the injured.

Cambodia is one of the region's poorer countries and has an underdeveloped health system, with hospitals barely able to cope with daily demand.
 

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Cambodia PM: 339 Dead In Festival Stampede
Sky News



At least 339 people have died in a stampede at Phnom Penh's annual Water Festival celebrations, Cambodia's prime minister has said.


Thousands of Cambodians were on the streets to mark the end of the festival when the crowd rushed onto a bridge, an official told AFP news agency.


Up to two million people had been expected to attend the festival's close, where the main attraction is a traditional boat race along the Tonle Sap river.


The panic had started on Koh Pich - Diamond Island, a long spit of land in the river where a concert was being held.




Prime Minister Hun Sen made several live television broadcasts after midnight, giving a preliminary death toll of 181 that he later increased to 190 and then to 339.


The website of the newspaper Kampuchea Thmey had already quoted General 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.


A drink seller at the concert, So Cheata, told reporters that 10 people had fallen unconscious as the crowd surged, setting off a panic that became a stampede.


According to witnesses, the panic was made worse as the crowd rushed to cross the bridge and people fell into the water.
 

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Water Festival Tragedy

Stempede leaves 345 deaths and hundreds more injured during the last day of water festival.

This is a sad story for our country. Prime minister Hun Sen said it's the worst tragedy since Khmer Rouge. He declared Thursday, Nov. 25th, a national mourning day. :eek:hno:
 

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Asian kid
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I would like to share my condolences with compatriots and the family members of the victims. (T_T).... This is a devastating event in Cambodian history.
 

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Asian kid
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I would like to share my condolences with compatriots and the family members of the victims. (T_T).... This is a devastating event in Cambodian history.
 

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Asian kid
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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – Thousands of people stampeded during a festival in the Cambodian capital, leaving at least 349 dead and hundreds injured in what the prime minister called the country's biggest tragedy since the 1970s reign of terror by the Khmer Rouge.
A panic-stricken crowd — celebrating the end of the rainy season on an island in a river — tried to flee over a bridge and many people were crushed underfoot or fell over its sides into the water. Disoriented victims struggled to find an escape hatch through the human mass, pushing their way in every direction. After the stampede, bodies were stacked upon bodies on the bridge as rescuers swarmed the area.
The search for bodies in and along the Bassac River continued Tuesday.
The prime minister's special adviser, Om Yentieng, denied some reports that the victims were electrocuted by lighting cables and that the panic was sparked by a mass food poisoning.
Ambulances raced back and forth between the river and the hospitals for several hours after the stampede. Calmette Hospital, the capital's main medical facility, was filled to capacity with bodies as well as patients, some of whom had to be treated in hallways. Relatives, some crying, searched for the missing Tuesday morning.
"I was taken by shock. I thought I would die on the spot. Those who were strong enough escaped, but women and children died ," said Chea Srey Lak, a 27-year-old woman who was knocked over by the panicked crowd on the bridge.
She managed to escape but described a woman, about 60 years old, lying next to her who was trampled to death by hundreds of fleeing feet.
"There were cries and calls for help from everywhere, but nobody could help each other. Everyone just ran," she said at Calmette Hospital, where she was being treated for leg and hand injuries.
Hours after the chaos, the dead and injured were still being taken away from the scene, while searchers looked for bodies of anyone who might have drowned. Hundreds of shoes were left behind on and around the bridge. An Associated Press reporter saw one body floating in the river.
The government television station said 349 people had been killed and 500 injured. Authorities said there were no foreigners among the dead or injured.
"This is the biggest tragedy we have experienced in the last 31 years, since the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime," Prime Minister Hun Sen said, referring to the ultra-communist movement whose radical policies are blamed for the deaths of 1.7 million people during the 1970s.
He ordered an investigation into the cause of the stampede and declared Thursday would be a national day of mourning. Government ministries were ordered to fly the flag at half-staff. He said that the government would pay the families of each dead victim 5 million riel ($1,250) for funeral expenses and provide 1 million riel ($250) for each injured person.
Authorities had estimated that upward of 2 million people would descend on Phnom Penh for the three-day water festival, the Bon Om Touk, which marks the end of the rainy season and whose main attraction is traditional boat races along the river. In this year's event, 420 of the long, sleek boats competed, with crews of up to 80 racers each.
The last race ended early Monday evening, the last night of the holiday, and the panic started later on Koh Pich — Diamond Island — a long spit of land wedged in a fork in the river where a concert and exhibition were being held. It was unclear how many people were on the island to celebrate the holiday, though the area appeared to be packed with people, as were the banks.
Soft drink vendor So Cheata said the trouble began when about 10 people fell unconscious in the press of the crowd. She said that set off a panic, which then turned into a stampede, with many people caught underfoot.
Information Minister Khieu Kanharith gave a similar account of the cause, adding that major causes of death were asphyxiation and internal bleeding. He denied some reports that authorities fired water cannons on the crowd. He said 62 women, mostly in their 20s, have so far been identified among the dead.
Seeking to escape the island, part of the crowd pushed onto a bridge, which also jammed up, with people falling under others and into the water. So Cheata said hundreds of hurt people lay on the ground afterward. Many appeared to be unconscious.
Philip Heijmans, a 27-year-old photographer from Brooklyn, New York, who arrived at the scene half-an-hour after the stampede, walked up the bridge to see hundreds of shoes and pieces of clothing, then a body, then more "bodies stacked on bodies." Heijmans works for the Cambodia Daily, a local English-language newspaper.
He counted about 40 in all, with about 200 rescuers in the area. Some Australian firefighters were on the scene_ it wasn't clear why they were in town — who were checking pulses before loading bodies into vans.
Cambodia is one of the region's poorer countries, and has an underdeveloped health system, with hospitals barely able to cope with daily medical demands. Hun Sen called on foreign investors and tourists not to shun the country because of the accident.
Koh Pich used to host a slum community, but in recent years the poor have been evicted to make way for high-rise and commercial development, most yet to be realized.
 

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When i heard this news i got choked up already. It really a very sad tragedy of Cambodia never met over this 30 years. This 25 november government declare as the sadness day for this event. We will celebrate every year. What a pity Cambodian. When u gonna get better from these bad event. Please god pray for us, cambodian.
 

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Wow very sad news indeed, my condolence go out to all the families that have lost their love ones. to think this all started with a few people with food poisoning? If only people would stay calm instead of overreacting =(
 

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It make me crying when i see them stucking on bridge in video. It really sad. When cambodian gonna get better from this kind of bad event. M really really so sad wit that.
 

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MBRkhmer
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I can't not sleep whole night!!!!

I'm very :-(

The first I watching Bayon live concert... Then they live also action on the bridge.

DAP news alway keep update and I follow it since only 13 dead... But now!!!!?????
 
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