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Thursday, January 01, 2015, Poush 18, 1421, Robiul Awal 9, 1436 Hijr


35 killed in stampede at Shanghai’s new year celebrations
Observer Online Desk
Published : Thursday, 1 January, 2015,  Time : 9:27 AM,  View Count : 35
A crush at New Year's Eve celebrations in Shanghai has killed 35 people and injured some 42 others, Chinese state media report.

The crush happened in Chenyi Square in Shanghai's historic Bund district overlooking the Huangpu river.

Thousands of people had gathered to see in 2015.

Social media reports suggest the stampede was triggered by people stopping to pick up fake money thrown from the balcony of a nightclub.

The Shanghai City government said the situation began at 23:35 local time (15:35 GMT) and that a "working group" had been set up to handle the incident.

Photos posted on social media showed people receiving first aid on the road and large numbers of police securing the area.

President Xi Jinping has told Shanghai government to find the causes of the crush as soon as possible, state TV reported.
'Too many people'

English tourist Rebecca Thomas from Manchester told the BBC she had seen dead bodies on the ground.

"CPR was being given to 10-15 people in the street by loved ones whilst police stood by and watched.

"I asked a police officer if I could help and was told to move along. I saw a man giving his wife or girlfriend mouth-to-mouth on the floor whilst police watchedm" she said.

"There were really too many people!" Sina Weibo user iiisay wrote. "Squeezed inside, you could not budge, and could only move with the crowd."

She added that traffic police had linked hands to form a human wall after the crush, but the wall was still breached several times.

US photographer Gaby Gabriel told the BBC: "Nobody seemed to be in control and people were crying. It was one of those times when you see the worst in people."

Another Sino Weibo user, Small Metal Makes Steel, said: "At the time there were lots of people, police at the scene maintained order and wouldn't let people near [the scene of the injuries]."

"Lots of people spontaneously linked hands to block the crowds, so the injured had space to settle down, and to allow a clear passage for ambulances," he added.

In a statement, the Shanghai City government said that those hurt had been transferred to hospitals across the city, and that the Shanghai party secretary had visited some of the injured.

Earlier, Shanghai's police department wrote on its verified social media account that some "tourists" had "fallen over" at the Bund, and urged people to leave the area in an orderly fashion.

According to the Shanghai Daily, close to 300,000 people turned up for New Year's Eve celebrations last year, leading to traffic problems.

BBC/TF





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