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Festival toll rises

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The casualty toll of Monday’s stampede at a water festival in Cambodia’s capital of Phnom Pehn continues to rise. 

People try to look at pictures of victims of the stampede posted on a billboard outside the Calmette Hospital In Phnom Penh yesterday. AFP


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Festival toll rises

Cambodian police examine hundreds of shoes and other belongings on a bridge in Phnom Penh yestrday, the morning after hundreds were crushed to death during a stampede. AFP

The casualty toll of Monday’s stampede at a water festival in Cambodia’s capital of Phnom Pehn continues to rise.

A government spokesman, Phay Siphan, said yesterday that total casualties reached over 1,000 with 378 people killed and 755 injured.

A panic-stricken crowd celebrating the end of the rainy season was caught on a narrow bridge between the mainland and an island in a river where a sound and light show was being held.

The two Singaporean businessmen who organised the show for the festival said authorities had closed another bridge earlier in the day, forcing tens of thousands of people to use a single span.

One witness said the trouble started when several people fell unconscious in the press of the crowd.

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said a rumour had spread that the bridge was unstable.

‘‘So panic started. It was too crowded and they had nowhere to run,’’ he said.

Many who attended the festivities said they felt lucky to have survived.

‘‘We were crossing the bridge to Diamond Island when people started pushing from the other side. There was lots of screaming and panic,’’ survivor Kruon Hay, 23, said yesterday at the scene.

‘‘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.’’

Others were not so lucky. Uch Yon fought back tears as he searched for his youngest daughter among the dead.

He had already discovered the body of his eldest daughter, 25, and that of his sister-in-law, 32, during his heart-wrenching search.

‘‘I’ve been to many hospitals but I cannot find my 18-year-old daughter,’’ the father-of-six said.

‘‘I don’t think that she has survived,’’ the 62-year-old added as he used a tissue to wipe away his tears.
 
Adapted from an AFP story in today’s Bangkok Post.

festival – an event that is held to celebrate a particular thing or activity เทศกาล
casualty toll – the number of deaths and/or injuries จำนวนผู้บาดเจ็บล้มตาย
stampede – (of a large group of people or animals) to run in an uncontrolled way because they are frightened or excited ความแตกตื่นโกลาหล, ความระส่ำระสาย, ความอลหม่าน
injured – hurt in an accident or attack ซึ่งได้รับบาดเจ็บ
panic-stricken – feeling so afraid or worried that you cannot think clearly or calmly ตกใจกลัว
narrow – not wide; having a small distance from one side to the other, especially in comparison with the length แคบ
mainland – a large mass of land that forms the main part of a country but does not include any islands belonging to the country  แผ่นดินใหญ่
authorities – people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
span – bridge
witness – a person who sees something happen  ผู้ที่เห็นเหตุการณ์
unconscious – in a sleeplike condition, usually from an illness or injury  หมดสติ
rumour – a piece of information, or a story, that people talk about, but that may not be true ข่าวลือ
spread – to (cause to) cover, reach or have an effect on a wider or increasing area or number of people กระจายไปทั่ว
unstable – not firm and not likely to support something well  ที่ไม่แน่น    ที่ไม่แข็งแรง
survive – to continue to live after a difficult or dangerous situation มีชีวิตรอด
scene – site; a place where something happens or happened สถานที่เกิดเหตุ
fight back tears – to try not to cry
search – to look somewhere carefully in order to find something ค้นหา
sister-in-law – the sister of your husband or wife. The brother of your husband or wife is your brother-in-law พี่หรือน้องสะใภ้
heart-wrenching – making you feel very sad and sympathetic because someone is suffering ซึ่งทำให้เสียใจมาก (ในความทุกข์ของคนอื่น)

Related search: Cambodia, Diamond Island, stampede

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