Thu, November 25, 2010
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Cambodia PM mourns stampede victims

2010-11-25 09:38:04 GMT2010-11-25 17:38:04 (Beijing Time)  SINA.com

At least 456 people were killed on the last day of a water festival in the capital Phnom Penh, when thousands panicked as they tried to cross a suspension bridge.

The Prime Minister's advisor said the accident was triggered when the bridge starting to sway.

(SOUNDBITE) (Khmer) PRIME MINISTER HUN SEN'S ADVISOR, OM YENTIENG, SAYING:

"According to the investigation we have, the victims told us that there were people pushing first. When it became chaos, the bridge started shaking. Some people shouted 'don't panic' otherwise the bridge might collapse. The bridge shaking did not happen before the chaos. This is what we heard from witnesses and victims."

Hundreds were also injured in the stampede.

One woman described how her grandson ended up in hospital .

(SOUNDBITE) (Khmer) 53-YEAR-OLD GRAND MOTHER TUON SOKHUN, SAYING:

"Those who fell down, tried to grab his neck. He is lucky that his uncle pulled him out. So he survived and his uncle tried to save his wife, but she died as soon as her body was pulled out."

While critics have pointed fingers at developers who built the bridge, and city authorities organising the festival, they say the government is ultimately responsible.

However analysts say the disaster is unlikely to damage Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has been in power for the last quarter of a century.

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