Monday, November 22, 2010

Stampede in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Azuriel, posting on the bulletin board at expat-advisory.com, left an eyewitness report of the deadly stampede in Phnom Penh that has taken hundreds of lives:
November 23, 2010 - 3:06am
Just arrived back home after the missus and I spent some 4 hours stuck on Koh Pich ... we were just about to cross back to the mainland from the island when the stampede started, and police started cordoning the area off ... total chaos' prolly the best way to describe it ...

spent most of my 4 hours trying to help out, inclusing performing CPR on 4 girls that got fished out of the river ... unfortunately only managed to revive 2 of them ... ( ... of the other 2, only 1 had a pulse when they rushed her to hospital, but nevertheless, hope the ambulance crews managed to do more than my meagre first aid skills ...

From talking to the locals, some of the security and event management staff, and first-hand experience, I gather the following chain of events occurred; not sure these events occurred in this order though, but it's close:
  • about 30-odd people were electrocuted (few direct deaths, but many losing consciousness, suffering severe burns) from contact with the metal guard rails on either side of the bridge ...
  • about a dozen people fainted from the crush of the crowd, heat exhaustion, dehydration, or a combination of these, and fell underfoot ...
  • Crowd panicked from the electrocutions and surged into a stampede; More people tripped or got pushed over, and got trampled underfoot ...
  • People started jumping off the bridge into the river below to escape the mob; some were electrocuted climbing over the railings; some died from jumping into shallow water, or missing the water altogether, and landing on the concrete escarpments. One of the girls I performed CPR on had a nasty gash stretching from her collarbone down to just past her belly button ... not bleeding too badly, but was still a pain to patch up half-decently ...
  • Curious onlookers surged towards the bridge from both ends trying to find out what was going on. POLICE WERE VERY FORCEFULLY PUSHING BYSTANDERS BACK, USING FISTS, BATONS, PISTOLS, AND PIECES OF METAL PIPING!!! ==>> AND IN PARTICULAR, SHAME SHAME SHAME ON THE BIG BLACK GUY WITH THE AMERICAN ACCENT THAT PHYSICALLY ASSAULTED MY WIFE AND I, NOT ONCE BUT TWICE: WHEN I TRACK DOWN YOUR DETAILS, I'LL BE USING ALL MY POLICE AND LEGAL CONTACTS TO PRESS CHARGES!! <<== Wish more foreigners could've put their energies into helping the wounded, as opposed to bashing up on the innocent bystanders ...
  • Some police near the Koh Pich end of the bridge fired warning shops to try to disperse the crowd, but it only served to set off a 2nd panic, since no-one at that stage knew who was shooting, nor at who or what ...
  • The crowd was warned to stay away from the metal guard rails along the easter edge of Koh Pich, for fear of electrocution. Around the same time, all the neon lights on the bridge were turned off, along with most of the street lamps along the eastern shore of the island.
As of 3am on Tuesday morning, the official death toll sits at 332 deaths, and 329 injured ... a moment of silence please ...  ironically, the bayon TV concert a couple of hundred metres away blasted on throughout all of this ...  

This video was shot on the morning of Nov. 23, showing the debris from the stampede:



More on the tragedy at Jot ASEAN.

1 comment:

Harvest Moon: FOMT said...

We are Cambodian. We are in deep sorrow mourning for victims who died on 22nd November 2010 Stampede in Phnom Penh. We wish their soul will rest peacefully in heaven.


我们柬埔寨。 是在深刻的哀痛哀悼为在11月22日2010日惊逃在 金边死的受害者的我们。 我们祝愿他们的灵魂在天堂将平安地休息。


우리는 캄보디아어 이다. Phnom Penh에 있는 11월 22 일 2010일 궤주에 죽은 피해자를 위해 슬퍼해 우리는 깊은 비애에 서 이다. 우리는 그들의 넋이 천국에서 평화롭게 휴식할 것이라는 점 을 바란다.


เราขอม. เรากำลังอยู่ในความเศร้าโศกที่สุดไว้ทุกข์สำหรับเหยื่อ22 พฤศจิกายน 2010 จีนแตกตื่นในกรุงพนมเปญ. เราปรารถนาให้วิญญาณของพวกเขาที่เหลือจะสงบอยู่.