Late Monday evening, November 22, 2010, a panic occurred amongst a crowd crossing a bridge in Phnom Penh the result of which is estimated at more than 350 people. Monday was the last day of a water festival and many were going Diamond Island where there was a final concert. At some point and authorities are speculating about this, some people were possibly electrocuted by faulty lights or some people became worried that the bridge was going to collapse and a stampede started. During the uncontrolled melee, people were literally trampled to death. The bridge, which is so narrow that only 2 cars can barely pass one another, became engorged with people to the point where some jumped into the river 4 metres below to escape.
Eye witness accounts the day after tell of a bridge covered with blood and littered with shoes, supposedly thousands of shoes. However the full extent of the tragedy has yet to play out. Some of those who died came from the countryside and their relatives do not yet have any idea of what may have happened. As such, bodies may go unclaimed for some time.
The Prime Minister said Cambodia would hold a national day of mourning on Thursday describing this as Cambodia’s darkest hour since the Khmer Rouge, whose 1975-1979 rule left up to a quarter of the population dead.
The stampede was the world’s worst since January 2006, when 362 Muslim pilgrims were crushed to death while performing a stoning ritual at the entrance to the Jamarat Bridge near Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
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Video from Britain’s Telegraph
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