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Cambodia Holds Day of Mourning for Stampede Dead

November 25, 2010 Leave a comment

 

AP – Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany pray with incenses sticks during a Buddhist ceremony …

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – Cambodia began a day of mourning Thursday with the prime minister weeping at the spot where hundreds died during a wild riverside stampede.

Prime Minister Hun Sen cried as he lit candles and incense at a narrow bridge where thousands of festival-goers panicked, trampling hundreds underfoot on Monday night. He was joined by the Bassac River in the capital Phnom Penh by his wife Bun Rany and Cabinet members. Flags throughout the country were flying at half-mast and a Buddhist ceremony was scheduled for later in the day.

There has been confusion over the death toll from the tragedy. The latest official casualty tally was 347 dead and 395 injured, down from earlier official figures.

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What a Tragic End to a Wonderful Celebration

November 24, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s hard to find a right word to describe how this tragedy effected to our feeling. I feel sad and sorry for those who lost their beloved once.

My deepest condolences to the family of the victims from the stampede in Koh Pich. I know that it is difficult to understand tragedies like this, but we can call on our faith to help us deal with them. I take solace in the words of the Buddha that tell us that those who mourn will be blessed.

Please accept our deepest sympathy on the unexpected loss of your beloved once. It is a very tragic event and I want you to know that I share your grief.

Nearly 400 dead, Cambodia searches for answers

November 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Associated Press

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – At the bridge where investigators poked though the debris of a disaster – abandoned flip-flops and sneakers, water bottles, pieces of sugar cane – Chea Chan lit a Buddhist memorial offering of incense, coconut and lotus flowers, and wept.The 28-year-old had tried to grab his younger brother during the riverside stampede that left at least 378 dead Monday night, but he was pushed against the support poles of the narrow suspension bridge. His little brother fell down and immediately was crushed under four or five other falling people. 

He found his dead sibling at a local hospital, with a broken neck and crushed face. “I’m totally in shock,” he said.

The victims were trampled when a crowd celebrating a holiday panicked for reasons that remained unknown yesterday. The prime minister’s special adviser, Om Yentieng, denied reports that it was sparked by a mass food poisoning, or by people being electrocuted by lighting cables.

Don Saron, 26, said that she was walking across the bridge when people began shouting that it was going to collapse. She tripped and felt the crowds trampling over her face and chest.

“People were just walking here and there and all of sudden, people started to run,” she said as she awaited treatment Tuesday at Calmette Hospital. She grimaced in pain as she leaned against a gurney on which she had just awakened nearly 20 hours after being caught in the stampede.

“I shouldn’t have been there,” she said. “Why did I come to this festival, this ceremony?”

Prime Minister Hun Sen described the stampede on Koh Pich – Diamond Island – as the biggest tragedy since the communist Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, which left an estimated 1.7 million people dead in the late 1970s.

He declared tomorrow a day of national mourning.

State television showed horrific footage of the stampede, with thousands of twisted bodies – both dead and alive – piled atop each other, some screaming for help and grasping for hands as rescuers struggled to pull limp bodies out of the pile. Other rescuers fanned them with cardboard boxes.


Officials Probe Fatal Stampede in Cambodia

November 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Hundreds killed after mayhem on bridge after Water Festival

By Richard S. Ehrlich-The Washington Times

 

Relatives cry at Preah Kossamak Hospital, where the bodies of stampede victims are laid, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Tuesday. (Associated Press)

Cambodian officials are investigating why thousands of revelers panicked during a festival in Phnom Penh on Monday and stampeded across a narrow bridge, killing at least 378 people and injuring scores more.

Emergency teams, survivors and distraught relatives and friends desperately searched on Tuesday among corpses strewn on the bridge and floating in the river.

Many of the dead were later laid on the ground in rows, under white cloth, at hospitals before being packed into coffins for cremation.

Police wearing white rubber gloves gently lifted the hands of the dead and pushed their limp fingertips onto blackened ink pads and then onto paper, for identification records.

Authorities also posted photographs of victims for public viewing, hoping to identify the dead and injured.

 

A Cambodian woman looks for her missing relative at Preah Kossamak Hospital in Phnom Penh on Tuesday. The prime minister called the disaster the country's biggest tragedy since the 1970s reign of terror by the Khmer Rouge. (Associated Press)

The tragedy occurred Monday night during the final celebration of the three-day Water Festival, which marks the end of the tropical rainy season in the impoverished Buddhist-majority country.

Trapped on a 250-acre island in the Tonle Bassac River where the festival was staged, hundreds of people tried to flee across the short, narrow bridge, but began shoving and trampling each other in a melee, while others jumped or fell into the murky water below.

Phnom Penh police Chief Touch Naroth said investigators were still trying to determine the cause but suggested that the bridge’s small size may have contributed to the tragedy, the Associated Press reported. “This is a lesson for us,” he said on state TV.

Some witnesses said trouble began when a handful of people fainted because of the heat and physical pressure of the large crowd, causing others to nervously try to escape.

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Our Deepest Condolences to the Family of the Victims of Koh Pich Stampede

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Cambodia Today  would like to offer our deepest condolences to the family of the victims from the stampede in Koh Pich. I know that it is difficult to understand tragedies like this, but we can call on our faith to help us deal with them. I take solace in the words of the Buddha that tell us that those who mourn will be blessed.

Please accept our deepest sympathy on the unexpected loss of your beloved once. It is a very tragic event and I want you to know that I share your grief.

Cambodia Today

$200 for each death: King-Father Sihanouk

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

DAP-news reported today that King-Father Norodom Sihanouk, his wife and King Sihamoni are offering $200 for each death.

Source: KI Media

Koh Pich Tragedy: The arduous task of identifying the victims (Photos: AFP, AP, Reuters)

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment