Cambodia stampede leaves 25 dead

2010-11-22 19:55

Phnom Penh - At least 25 people died in a stampede on a bridge in the Cambodian capital on Monday, an AFP photographer said, as millions were out on the city's streets to celebrate the Water Festival.

The bodies were laid out near the bridge that connects Phnom Penh with Diamond Island, a small island where festivities were being held to mark the end of the three-day annual festival.

Officials were still removing bodies from the bridge, the photographer added.

"More than 10 people are dead and at least 100 injured," government spokesperson Khieu Kanharith told AFP, adding that he expected the toll to climb.

Meanwhile, dozens of people had started gathering outside the city's Calmette hospital.

Many festival goers were in tears, an AFP reporter outside the hospital said. Millions of people had flocked to the capital over the last three days for the annual boat races, concerts and fireworks.

The annual festival, one of Cambodia's largest and most exuberant, marks the reversal of the flow between the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers.

It is also seen as a way of giving thanks to the river for providing the country with fertile land and abundant fish.