Home > Water Festival Stampede 2010 > Investigation Finds Panic Led to Cambodia Stampede That Killed 456

Investigation Finds Panic Led to Cambodia Stampede That Killed 456


Kohpich Bridge That Killed Almost 500

(CNN) — The swaying of a suspension bridge led to fears it would collapse and resulted in a stampede that killed 456 people at a Cambodian festival, according to government investigators.

Their initial findings were aired on state-run Bayon television Wednesday.

Police fired water cannons to get people to continue moving across the footbridge, which leads to an island in the center of a river.

“That just caused complete and utter panic,” journalist Steve Finch of the Phnom Penh Post newspaper told CNN.

Cambodia has declared Thursday a national day of mourning for those who died Monday in the crush at the annual Water Festival in the capital city of Phnom Penh, the news agency AKP reported. An additional 800 people were injured.

On Tuesday, some victims’ families and leaders gathered for a religious ceremony for the dead.

The government said it will help to transport the bodies of those who died and pay 5 million riel ($1,230) to the family of each of the deceased.

The three-day festival, which began Saturday, is held each November near the palace to honor a victory by Cambodian naval forces during the 12th century reign of King Jayavarman VII, according to the country’s tourism website.

During the festival, which includes boat races, participants pray for a good rice harvest and enough rain, and celebrate the full moon, the site says.

Visalsok Nou, a Cambodian Embassy official in Washington, said more than 4 million people were attending the Water Festival when the stampede occurred. A number of people lost consciousness and fell into the water, he said.

The country has set up a commission to look into the incident.

Source: CNN

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