Stampede kills 27 during Hindu festival
At least 27 people were killed and dozens injured Tuesday in a stampede during a Hindu religious bathing festival on a river bank in southern India.
The stampede occurred in Andhra Pradesh state as tens of thousands of people pushed forward to bathe in the Godavari River on the first day of the Pushkaralu festival, said Arun Kumar, a state administrator.
The stampede was triggered by some pilgrims who were trying to retrieve their shoes, which had fallen off in the rush to the river bank, police said.
Kumar said the incident, which occurred in the town of Rajahmundry, happened not long after the 12-day bathing festival started in the early morning hours.
Andhra Pradesh’s chief minis- ter, Chandrababu Naidu, said 27 people died in the stampede. An additional 34 people were hospitalized with inj., Kumar said.
V. Satyanarayana, a pilgrim who was at the site, said the stampede lasted nearly 20 minutes.
“It was a frightening situation, with women and children crying for help,” he said. “The policemen on duty were helpless and it took more than an hour to bring the situation under control.”
Policemen stand near dead bodies of victims of a stampede during a Hindu religious bathing festival in Rajahmundry, India. Tuesday.