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Electrocution May Be Cause of Many Killed in Cambodian Stampede at Water Festival

December 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Officials said on Monday, that 339 people were killed when a stampede occurred during a festival in Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh.

Citing information given in a televised address by Prime Minister Hun Sen, Philip Bader, a news editor with the Phnom Penh Post said, another 329 people were injured in the crush.

More than 4 million people were attending the Water Festival when the stampede occurred, Visalsok Nou, a Cambodian Embassy official in Washington. Other reports put the number at 2 million., Steve Finch, a journalist from the Phnom Penh Post said.

Beginning at around 10 p.m. (10 a.m. ET), it likely occurred due to a suspension bridge which was packed with people began to sway, creating panic, Bader said, who also cited reports that people were jumping off the bridge into the river to avoid the commotion.

Police then started firing water cannons onto the bridge in an effort to get the people to move across the bridge. “That just caused complete and utter panic,” Bader said. He also told of how a number of people who lost consciousness fell into the water; he also said, some may have been electrocuted. Although the government has denied anyone was electrocuted.

Among the dead were some police Finch said, and a doctor who did not want to be identified said that the main cause of death was suffocation and electrocution.

Disturbing video footage has been released of the panic and aftermath of the event. Also seen were dozens of people on the waiting room floor of the hospital with intravenous lines connected to bags.

An inquiry has been ordered by the prime minister into the cause of the day’s events and he has declared Thursday a day of mourning.

Held each November the three-day festival, near the palace is to honor a victory by the Cambodian naval forces during the 12th-century reign of King Jayvarman VII.

Story via hdnewsroom.com

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