23 Nov 2010

Hundreds killed in stampede at Cambodian festival

4:31 pm on 23 November 2010

Cambodia's prime minister says at least 345 people are known to have died in a stampede at a festival in Phnom Penh.

Prime Minister Hun Sen says festival-goers were crushed and many leapt from a bridge across the Tonle Sap River on Monday.

An eyewitness says the panic started at a concert on Diamond Island near the capital when a few people who were being crushed by the huge crowds fell unconscious.

People rushed to the nearest bridge where they were caught in the bottleneck. Some were trampled by other people, while others fell off the bridge, the BBC reports.

A news photographer said he saw many bodies laid out near the bridge while ambulances raced from the river to the nearest hospital on the mainland.

The concert was on the final day of the Water Festival which attracts millions of people and is one of the main events in the Cambodian year.