Shanghai, Jan 1: At least 35 people, including 25 women, were killed and 48 others injured in a stampede during New Year revelry at Shanghai's iconic waterfront area, one of the worst tragedies to hit China in recent years.
The crowd crush happened at about 11:35 PM (local time) when people rushed to see a live show at a small crowded place in the city's popular riverfront Bund area, police said.
Witnesses said a large number of people rushed upstairs while those already there began moving down through narrow steps. An injured person said, as a result, those moving up fell down causing a huge pile of people that led to heavy casualties.
Some witnesses also said the stampede took place when some coupons which resembled "dollar bills" were thrown from a building's third-floor window near the Bund.
Witness Wu Tao said some coupons were being thrown from a building's third-floor window near the Bund and people standing along the river bank started to scramble for those coupons. The coupon looked like a USD 100 banknote with "M18" printed in the middle, a reference to the bar of the same name on the Bund.
Phone calls to the bar were immediately hung up after getting through, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Some people on social networking websites said they found pictures of the bar owner showing off those coupons before the incident. But the blogger, who called herself "Chaojidadadashabao_MissShen" on the Sina Weibo, denied she threw away any coupons. People standing along the river bank started to scramble for these coupons, the report said.
The stampede left 35 people dead and 48 others injured, the city government information office said. There are 25 female among the deceased whose ages range from 16 to 36, the Shanghai daily reported. Most of the injured suffered fractures and the condition of 14 of the injured was said to be serious. A majority of the injured are youths of about 20 years old with many of them being female.
There are also college students and children among the injured. Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered an immediate investigation into the incident and called for proper treatment of the injured.
Such incidents during celebrations should be prevented, he said in a message. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said safety for public places, particularly during holidays should be ensured. Li called for making "every effort" to reduce injury- related deaths and consoling relatives of the victims of the stampede.