Tuesday, November 23, 2010

CNN news blog: Stampede allegedly started by cops firing water cannon on the crowd

Cambodian minister: 339 dead in stampede

Source: http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/11/22/more-than-100-killed-in-cambodia-festival-stampede/

[Updated at 4:25 p.m.] Steve Finch, a Phnom Penh Post reporter, told CNN that the stampede at the water festival in Phnom Penh began around 10 p.m. Monday (10 a.m. ET), when police began firing a water cannon onto a bridge to an island in the center of a river.

The bridge was packed with people, and police fired the water cannon in an effort to get them to move, he said.

"That just caused complete and utter panic," he told CNN in a telephone interview. He said a number of people lost consciousness and fell into the water; some may have died by electric shock, he said.

Watch: "It was chaos," reporter says

Finch cited witnesses as saying that the bridge was festooned with electric lights, which may have played a role in the deaths.

The government denied anyone died by electric shock.

But a doctor who declined to be identified publicly said the main cause of death was suffocation and electric shock. Police were among the dead, he said.

While Finch said the incident apparently coincided with the firing of the water cannon, a witness, Ouk Sokhhoeun, 21, told the Phnom Penh Post that the stampede began first.

In addition to the 339 people who have been confirmed dead, 329 people were injured, Prime Minister Hun Sen said, according to The Phnom Penh Post.

The incident happened on the final day of the three-day festival, according to The Phnom Peng Post. The festival, which attracts people from all over Cambodia, is held annually to commemorate a victory by the Cambodian naval forces during the 12th century reign of King Jayavarman VII, according to the Tourism Cambodia website.

[Updated at 3:37 p.m.] Steve Finch, a Phnom Penh Post reporter, told CNN there were reports from witnesses of people electrocuted as police fired water cannons at people on the bridge to hurry them along causing the stampede.

According to a Radio Australia report, a big crowd watching the annual water festival panicked when a number of people were apparently electrocuted on the bridge.

Cambodian authorities say hundreds of people were either crushed in the resulting stampede or drowned when they fell or jumped into the river.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has given several post-midnight live broadcasts to update the country. In one, according to the Associated Press, he called the stampede the "biggest tragedy" in Cambodia since the Khmer Rouge reign of terror in the 1970s.

He also ordered all government ministries to fly the flag at half-staff and said there would be a national day of morning.

[Updated at 3:05 p.m.] Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on state-run TV he was unsure yet as to what caused the stampede.

"This needs to be investigated more," Hun Sen said, according to an AFP report.

Hun Sen said a committee would be set up to examine the incident.

The Associated Press, Reuters and AFP reported that witnesses said 10 people had either collapsed or become unconscious during the festival, triggering the panic.

That led, they reported, to people rushing towards a bridge headed toward Diamond Island. That's when things got worse, a witness told AFP.

"We were crossing the bridge to Diamond Island when people started pushing from the other side. There was lots of screaming and panic," 23-year-old Kruon Hay told AFP. "People started running and were falling over each other. I fell too. I only survived because other people pulled me up. Many people jumped in the water."

Sok Sambath, governor of the capital's Daun Penh district, told AFP "this is the biggest tragedy we have ever seen."

iReport: Are you there? Send photos, videos, descriptions

[Updated at 2:41 p.m.] Khieu Kanharith, the Cambodian Minister of Information, has said the death toll from the stampede has now reached 339.

The three-day festival attracts people from all over Cambodia - and around the world - to the Royal palace. The festival is held annually to commemorate a victory by the Cambodian naval forces during the 12th century reign of King Jayvarman VII, according to the Tourism Cambodia website.

The festival is also used to pray for a good rice harvest, sufficient rain and to celebrate the full moon, the site says. The festival dates back to before the 7th century.

At night, the boats on the river are illuminated with neon lights and there is a fireworks display.

A stampede occurred during a water festival in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

[Updated at 2:36 p.m.] Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Monday on state-run Bayon Television that more than 200 people have died in the water festival stampede.

Officers with the Prime Ministers Bodyguard Unit stood outside a local hospital trying to help those who brought injured and control the scene of chaos outside.

Hundreds of shoes, clothing and personal items still littered the streets, the bridge and the underlying water near where the festival took place. The road on the bridge was so covered you could barely see the surface.

[Updated at 2:26 p.m.] Ambulances appeared to be making runs back and forth between the scene of the stampede and the hospital - dropping off the injured and then speeding away again, video on state-run Bayon Television showed.

Doctors stood outside a hospital, trying to direct traffic, between ambulances and vehicles of regular citizens bringing in the injured.

Friends and family clutched some the injured already in the hospital while others raced from the streets clutching the injured in the arms.

[Updated at 2:23 p.m.] Video from state-run Bayon Television in Cambodia showed panic in the streets and outside local hospitals.

Dozens of injured people appeared to be laying on what appeared to be the waiting room floor of a hospital with IV lines hooked up to them that were strung across benches.

[Updated at 2:04 p.m.] Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Monday on state-run Bayon Television that 180 people have died in the water festival stampede.

"With this miserable event, I would like to share my condolences with my compatriots and the family members of the victims," he said, according to AFP.

More than 4 million people were attending the Water Festival when the stampede occurred, said Visalsok Nou, a Cambodian Embassy official in Washington.

[Posted at 1:55 p.m.] More than 100 people were killed Monday in a stampede that occurred during a festival near Cambodia's royal palace in Phnom Penh, a Cambodian Embassy official in Washington said.

This story is developing. We'll bring you the latest information as soon as we get it.


Anonymous said...

In tragic event like this, people want to find out the cause but please don't take this opportunity to blame some group of your dislike. Please refrain from blaming each other. We ought to help and sympathize with the victims and their family instead of playing the blame game. Let things settle down and see the investigation committee that has already been set up find out.

Whose fault it may be, no one wants to cause death and injury for hundred of people. We should be civilized to take proper measure toward this tragedy and learn from it the right now.

My prayer to all the perished victims and their family as well the our injured fellow countrymen and women.

Anonymous said...

do we have ambulences waiting near by in case of emergency and enough oxygen tanks to help with their breathing? maybe not. who to blame? the CPP government. They will not blame on themselve, and there will be a cover up.

Anonymous said...

Because of corruption under Hun Sen
regime the construction of Koh Pich brige in not standard.

So corruption under Hun Sen regime measn to kill Cambodian.

This is Hun Sen long plan , and this is one of other million plans to kill Khmer .

Anonymous said...

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama announced Wednesday his decision to resign, making him the fourth Japanese prime minister to step down in four years.

When is incompetitive HUN SEN going to resign??

Please step out let someone to take lead!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how heartless you fucking people are. Your fellow Cambodian people passed away here from a tragic event and all you can do is spit your fucking politics? I think even an animal can at least have some sympathy when their own kind pass away. You're human, ain't you?

Anonymous said...

5:43 AM
As a Khmer I understand how you feel.

It is time to help these fellow Cambodian first.

But do not forget to prevent more Khmer from being more killed by corruption .

Koh pich brigde is not standard because of corruption .

So Koh Pich bridge is an incident .

But corruption of building Koh Pich is not an accident it is a long , long plan to kill the whole Khme people and society.

Anonymous said...

It is time to help these fellow Cambodian first.

But do not forget to prevent more Khmer from being more killed by corruption .

Koh pich brigde is not standard because of corruption .

So Koh Pich bridge is an incident .

But corruption of building Koh Pich is not an accident it is a long , long plan to kill the whole Khme people and society.

Anonymous said...

5:56 AM

You can play the blame game all you want man. But tragedy like stampede is never preventable. Do a google search on stampede accident and you'll see it happened everywhere around the world. A tragedy like this is caused by human behavior in a crowd situation. It is a viral event that happens too quick for anyone to intervene. The best the security personnel can do is to keep it from spreading as much as they can so to keep what already happened minimized. I don't care if you don't like Hun Sen or whatever but leave your personal politics out of this time. It's called being respectful.

Anonymous said...

This stampede is the biggest unprecedent tragedy for Khmer nation, but it is really good news for Sam Rainsy Party and its stupid supporters to politicise this incident to get a cheap political score. SRP is a biggest virus for Cambodian society.

Sam Rainsy will have a party and cheer up with this incident in Cabramatta, Western Sydney Australia.

Anonymous said...

If Hun Sen has real sympathy for Khmer victims of Koh Pich bridge Hun Sen must take full responsible by stepping down otherwise stop this crocodile tear .

But I am sure you will not step down or have real sympathy for Khmer people otherwise you would not do land eviction brutally at Dai Krahom, Bueng Kak, Hand Grenade attacked in 1997, Huge demonstration against fraud election results in 1998.

You are a tool of Indochina Federation.

Anonymous said...

we viet nam believe Hun Sen- CPP and the last is the KING Sihanomi did a good job and a good leaders. they are working hand in hand. They are a good leaders and good followers to our instructions.

Also thanks to all our vietnamese brothers and sisters who sacrify their family to work in all level of officials in cambodia to keep it part of viet nam.

we also want to thank His Excellency Dr. Phay Siphan, SOK Siphana and SARIN DENORA for their lips services and manipulation of international communities to support us..

Long live Viet Nam

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with PM Hun Sen? What is wrong with the bridge? People died because of themselves. Be realistic, people died because they chose to be there. They wanted to enjoy themselve. You guys should not blame anyone for this incident. Why you guys keep complaining about PM? If he stepped out, whom would you appoint to be new PM? Sam raingsy? Ranarith? Or Kim sokha? None of them is applicable for this position. If you're not living in Cambodia don't say a word, cause you're blind and deaf. We are khmer, we live as khmer, we live in Cambodia, and we will die as khmer. Unlike some people who have changed their nationalities, and keep blaming other people being vietnamese poppet...:-)

Anonymous said...

Dear Khmer compatriot brothers and sisters,
I fill very sorry for the incident at Koh Pich that Khmer have been suffering again and again; I wish Khmer stop having the tragedies like this from now on. However, what I can see, if Yourn are still behind Hun Sen government, used Hun Sen ‘s hands to help killing Khmer in many different ways like that, Khmer never stop being suffered. This happening, at Koh Pich, is not the final tragedy for Khmer citizen. I do not believe that it is a real accident disaster; it has to have somebody plan to work on it to kill Khmer citizen for weakening us. If my view is correct, you will see Khmer will have a lot more tragedies than this in the near future. Therefore in order to stop something happen like this is to Pull Hun Sen and his clans out of the government (it does not meter how we do it) and change its structure and policies.

Hun Sen said...

សារលិខិតចូលរួមមរណៈទុក្ខ និងលាលែង

ខ្ញុំព្រះករុណា ខ្ញុំ សម្តេចអគ្គមហាមេនាបតីតេជោ ហ៊ុន សែន នាយករដ្ឋមន្ត្រីនៃព្រះរាជាណាចក្រ​កម្ពុជា សូមចូលរួមមរណៈទុក្ខ សោកស្តាយចំពោះ​ការ​បាត់បង់អាយុជីវិតប្រជាពលរដ្ឋ៣៤៥នាក់ និង​របួស​៣៩៥ នាក់ ។ ការបាត់បង់នេះជាកំហុសធ្ងន់ធ្ងរបំផុតដែលមិន​អាច អធ្យាស្រ័យបានឡើយ ក្នុងនាមខ្ញុំជាអ្នកដឹកនាំរដ្ឋា​ភិបាល និងជាអ្នកទទួលខុសត្រូវម្នាក់។ ឆ្លើយតប​ទៅនឹងមហន្តរាយដែលមិនដែលកើតមាននៅក្នុងពិភពលោក ខ្ញុំសូមប្រកាសជាសាធារណៈថាៈ ចាប់ពី​ថ្ងៃទី២៦ វិច្ឆិកា ២០១០ នេះតទៅរូបខ្ញុំសូមលា​ឈប់​ពីតំណែងជានាយករដ្ឋមន្ត្រី ហើយសូមប្រជាពលរដ្ឋ ដាក់ទោសដល់កំហុសដោយអចេតនាដែលខ្ញុំព្រះករុណា ខ្ញុំមានការធ្វេសប្រហែសមិនអាចជួយការពារ សុវត្ថិភាព អាយុជីវិតប្រជារាស្ត្របានក្នុងពេលបុណ្យ អុំទូក ២០១០នេះបាន។

សូមទទួលនូវការលាលែង សុំខមាលទោសអំពីខ្ញុំព្រះករុណា ខ្ញុំ ព្រមទាំងក្រុមគ្រួសារ ។
ភ្នំពេញ ថ្ងៃទី ២៣ វិច្ឆិកា ២០១០
ហ៊ុន សែន

Anonymous said...

Everywhere in the World when they had stampede,people got panic and can not avoid the dead.
Wish you all R.I.P.

Kulen Monorom said...

Your Royal Highness Samdech Ta,

Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen,

Thank you for your both kindness and understanding.

What we need is prevention method, not to let this type of accident happen again in future.

It also make me very worry to see so much alcohol allowed to enter or produced in our beloved Kingdom of Cambodia? What about “ YA BA “ from Thailand? Can Samdech Ta and Samdech Hun Sen stop all sort of drugs coming to Cambodia? The accident may not related to drugs and alcohol but just some thing that I could not sleep peacefully from now to the future in the name sake of Khmer citizen.

May almighty God Jesus Christ accept all the victim souls into heaven too.

My condolences to all the victim's family.


Kulen Monorom
(The rice farmer's son)

Anonymous said...

ខ្ញុំសូមខ្លាចខ្មោចអ្នកដែលចេះតែនិយាយហើយ មិនដឹងថាកើតមកជាខ្មែរមួយរូបដែរ តែបែរជាអគតិយ៉ាងនេះសោះ។ មានរឿងអីក៏ចេះតែបន្ទោសដល់ថ្នាក់ដឹកនាំនិងប្រទេសជិតខាង។ តើក្នុងក្បាលដែលមានគំនិតសន្តិភាពខ្លះទេ? រស់នៅជិតខាងនិងគេ មានតែគំនិតអាក្រក់ សូម្បីតែរត់ជាន់គ្នាងាប់ក៏បន្ទោសយួន បន្ទោសនាយករដ្ឋមន្ត្រី បន្តិចទៀតទៅប្រហែលជាពេលឆ្កែរត់បុកធុងក៏បន្ទោសថៃ យួន ឬក៏នាយករដ្ឋមន្ត្រីដែរហើយ។ បើយល់ថាកើតមកជាខ្មែរហើយ មានសម្តេចហ៊ុនសែនជានាយករដ្ឋមន្ត្រី មានយួន ថៃ និងឡាវជាប្រទេសជិតខាង គូរតែឆាប់ងាប់បន្តិចទៅ រូចទៅចាប់ជាតិជាថ្មីជាបារាំង ឬមួយក៏អាមេរិកកាំងទៅ!!!

សូមឱ្យវិញ្ញានខ័នរបស់ជនដែលស្លាប់ក្នុងឧប្បត្តិហេតុនេះទៅកាន់សុខតិភព។ ហើយបើអាចធ្វើបានជួយយកជនអគតិទៅផង...

ខ្ញុំក៏ជាកូនអ្នកស្រែ កូនខ្មែរ តែចេះស្រឡាញ់សន្តិភាព យល់ហេតុនិងផល មិនដែលចេះតែបន្ទោសអ្នកនេះអ្នកនោះទេ។

Anonymous said...

I think its not about blame its about- Responsibility. These tragic events can be avoid with a little preparedness and fundamental "crowd control" measures. This is the responsibility of the local authorities and event organizers. The Government including the khmer people should show respect to those who have died by taking responsibility by finding out how this happened and what can be done next time to avoid such a waste of life.

Anonymous said...

ខ្ញុំយល់ស្របថាវា ជាសោក​នាដ​កម្មមួយដែលគួរឱ្យសោកស្តាយ រីឯការទទូលខុសត្រូវក៏ត្រូវតែមាន ដូចបានឃើញស្រាប់ហើយ ទោះបីជាថវិកាមិនច្រើនក៏ដោយ ក៏មានការឩបថមខ្លះដែរ ដូចយើងបានដឹងគ្រប់ៗគ្នាហើយថាវាជាឩប្បត្តិហេតុ គឺគ្មាននរណាម្នាក់ដឺងមុននោះដែរ ហើយក៏គ្មាននរណាម្នាក់ចង់ឱ្យវាកើតឡើងនោះទេ។ ដួចយើងបានឃើញជាក់ស្តែង រដ្ឋាភិបាលបានព្យាយាមទប់ស្តាត់នូវបទល្មើសផ្សេងៗ ដូចជាការលូច ការឆក់ជាដើម ដោយហេតុតែយើងពុំដែលបានជួបនូវបញ្ហានេះទើបបានជាគ្មានការការពារនឹងប្រុងប្រយ័ត្នជាមុន។
ខ្ញុំសង្ឈឹមថាបងប្អូនខ្មែរគ្រប់រូបត្រូវចេះយោគយល់ និងមិនគូរបន្ទោសអ្នកណាម្នាក់ឡើយព្រោះវាជាឩប្បត្តិហេតុ។ ម្យ៉ាងវិញទៀតខ្ញុំក៏សង្ឍឹមថានេះជាមេរៀនមួយសម្រាប់រដ្ឋាភិបាលដើម្បី មានការការពារនាថ្ងៃអនាគត។ ជាទីបញ្ចប់ខ្ញុំក៏អំពាវនាវ នឹងសំណូមពរឱ្យបងប្អូនប្រជាជនខ្មែរឱ្យចេះប្រកាន់ខ្ជាប់នូវរបៀបរៀបរយដោយត្រូវចេះតម្រង់ជួរ និងគោរពសិទ្ទិគ្នាទៅវិញទៅមក ទើបធ្វើឱ្យមានភាពថ្លៃថ្នូរ។

យើងជាខ្មែរ យើងត្រូវចេះស្រឡាញ់ គោរព និងយោគយល់គ្នាទៅវិញទៅមក។