Home > Local News > Jam instead of terrorism causes stampede tragedy in Cambodia

Jam instead of terrorism causes stampede tragedy in Cambodia

Cambodia’s Prime
Minister Hun Sen delivers a speech at a newly-constructed building for
Ministry of Social Affairs in Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia, Nov. 29,
2010. Hun Sen said Monday that no one will be punished for last week’s
stampede in which at least 351 revelers died. (Xinhua/Phearum)

PHNOM PENH, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) — Final assessment
released on Monday afternoon by the government showed that stampede
tragedy at Diamond Island bridge was not caused by terrorism or criminal
act, but a jam with too many crowded people.

“It was estimated nearly 4 million people during the water festival
and about 7,000 to 8,000 people on the tragic bridge at that time,
meaning that about 10 to 12 people on one square meter,” Prum Sokha, the
secretary of state for the interior ministry, and chief of
sub-committee on investigation said during a press briefing on Monday
afternoon at the Council of Ministers.

“It was too crowded and people walking in opposite directions and the
flows of words on electric shocks and about the bridge was about to
collapse.”

Reason to the accident is too crowded, pushing each other,
suffocation, while words on electric shock, a bridge to collapse were at
the same time caused to the panic. The authorities were making great
efforts to rescue the victims on time.

He said that the investigation showed that at nearly 9 p.m. on Monday
night, some people were walking in opposite direction on the bridge,
and about 30 minutes later, some shouted that the bridge was about to
collapse.

More than 2,000 phone calls, giving information on the accident, but
only more than 309 witnesses considered producing valuable information
about the accident, he said.

The seven-meter-wide and 101-meter-long bridge can load 500 tones,
but the number of people on it at that time was overweight, however,
bridge is in good condition.

The stampede at Diamond Island’s Diamond Bridge killed at least 351
people and injured 394. “They died from suffocation, stampede and
dehydration,” he said.

“It is a lesson learned and we have to prepare well for the future
events,” said Sok An, deputy prime minister and chairman of the Diamond
Island Casualties Settlement Committee, during the press briefing.

Cambodia’s Water Festival from Nov. 20 to 22 is the largest annual
festival in the Southeast Asian nation. Around 3 million Cambodians,
especially those from rural areas converged to the city to enjoy the
regatta.

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