Stampede not triggered by fake money thrown from a nearby building, Shanghai police. Triple stampedes in 2014 in China.
Shanghai police on Thursday said that the stampede killing 36 people in the city’s historic riverside area on the New Year’s eve was not triggered by fake money coupons thrown from a nearby building.
The police said on its official microblog account that the coupons were thrown after the stampede and only a handful of people came forward to pick them up.
Some social media reports initially suggested that the stampede might have been caused by a large amount of banknotes raining down from a nearby building. The banknotes were later identified as coupons of a club in the building by internet users and confirmed by the Shanghai police.
The police earlier admitted that they underestimated how many people were likely to turn up and deployed fewer officiers, because “there were no events last night.” The firework display and countdown that had been host on the Bund for the past three years were moved to another site this year to alleviate the burden on traffic.
Witnesses told the South China Morning Post that the tragedy could have been prevented if police had managed the crowd as it had in the past.
“The tragedy could have been avoided if enough police officers had been dispatched to maintain order,” Ma Xiaobang, a witness in his early sixties, said. “I have been there every year to join in the fun but there had never been such chaos as this.”
The cause of the crush remained under investigation, Xinhua said.
New Year celebrations across Shanghai were cancelled today after the incident.
At least 47 people were injured amid the chaos in the city’s popular riverfront tourist district about half an hour before midnight, according to a statement released by the city government. Thirteen are in a critical condition, the authorities said on the government’s social media account.
Most of those killed and injured in the stampede were young people in their 20s, including college students, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Shanghai authorities have identified 33 of the injured, including two Taiwanese and one Malaysian, and one Taiwanese was confirmed to be among the dead, according to the twitter account of state broadcaster CCTV News.
Watch: New Year stampede kills 36 in Shanghai
The authorities in Shanghai cancelled all New Year celebrations on Thursday as President Xi Jinping instructed them to “do everything in their power” to help those injured and launch an immediate investigation into the cause of the stampede, according to state media.
Local media quoted survivors and witnesses describing the chaotic scene as waves of spectators in a square swarmed onto a raised platform for a viewing spot of a New Year’s Eve light show and pushed against those coming off, with people pressed so tightly together that they couldn’t breathe.
As exhausted people fell or were knocked down, tripping more behind them, panic quickly spread through the huge crowds, with “young girls screaming desperately for their lives and the sounds of all sorts of curses around”, wrote one eyewitness on social media.
Survivors described the scene as “hellish”, Xinhua reported.
“I was surrounded by cries for help from women and the sounds of beating and cursing,” he said. “All I could do was try to keep my upper body in the air to ensure that I could breathe.
“There were people behind me grabbing my hair, struggling for breath, and a girl held me saying, ‘Help me, I can’t hold on much longer'”. There were also women who had fallen silent beneath me.”
When the crowds finally thinned, dozens of victims were seen lying unconscious or moaning on the ground and on top of each other. Volunteers and survivors helped carry some victims to open areas and tried to resuscitate them as others started calling the police and emergency services.
“That was when we heard the count down: 5, 4, 3…” wrote one witness on Weibo.
“There were just too many people and nowhere people could escape to,” said a woman witness who declined to give her name.
Cui Tingting, 27, said she had picked up some of the coupons, but had thrown them away when she realised they were not money.
“It’s too cruel. People in front of us had already fallen to the floor and others were stepping all over them,” she said.
Cai Lixin, a police commander in the district, told a press conference that 500 officers were deployed at the scene to help with the rescue operation and disperse the crowds.
Some of the injured were sent to hospital by police car before ambulances arrived, he said.
A Xinhua photo from the scene showed at least one person doing chest compressions on a shirtless man while several other people lay on the ground nearby, amid debris.
At Shanghai No1 People’s Hospital, waves of anxious people were rushing to the emergency ward on Thursday morning, looking for their loved ones after learning of the midnight stampede in the news. Some said they had lost contact with their children or friends and were worried that they might be among the casualties.
They were barred from entering the ward by policemen and hospital security guards, while police circulated pictures and name lists of injured victims who had been sent to several city hospitals, asking family members to identify them.
A brief scuffle broke out as one middle-aged man lost his patience and tried to push through the line of security guards. The Shanghai resident told the South China Morning Post that he had waited for hours for news about his 25-year-old nephew, who was being treated at the hospital.
“It is such a serious incident and why is there no government official or hospital staff here to speak to us? They left all this to a few young security guards to handle?” he said after arguing fruitlessly with the security guards.
Four university students from Jiangxi Province told the Post that two of their female schoolmates were among those hospitalised. The square where the stampede took place was extremely crowded, they said. It was difficult to move around, and mobile networks were jammed.
The four were separated from their schoolmates and left the square amid the chaos after the countdown. They only learned that the other two girls were injured and hospitalised from news reports, they said.
At the same hospital, the mother of an injured 12-year-old boy sat crying, surrounded by relatives.
“We don’t know what is happening, but we can’t get in to see him,” said her older brother, who declined to be named.
One of the people killed was from Taiwan, Xinhua reported. Another person from the island was also injured, the news agency said.
A person from Malaysia was also hurt in the crush, the People’s Daily reported.
One local woman killed was a student Du Yijun, who was studying at Fudan University in Shanghai, the Shidao Bao newspaper reported. She was pronounced dead at hospital.
Premier Li Keqiang told the Shanghai authorities to “take all possible measures to reduce the number of casualties”, Xinhua reported. Shanghai Communist Party secretary Han Zheng and mayor Yang Xiong went to several local hospitals to visit victims after the stampede.
The city should immediately examine its schedules of large events, especially events in densely populated areas, the official China News Agency quoted Han as saying. “All those that should be stopped must be stopped,”
Hong Kong’s Immigration Department had not received any request for assistance from Hong Kong residents so far in relation to the Shanghai stampede, a government spokesman said on Thursday.
Last week, the English-language Shanghai Daily reported that the annual New Year’s Eve countdown on the Bund that normally attracts about 300,000 people had been cancelled, apparently because of crowd control issues.
The report said a “toned-down” version of the event would be held instead. Many of the huge crowds had come to see a light show that started at 11pm and was due to end after midnight.
The stampede appeared to be near that area.
Witnesses said there were a “sea of faces” and they struggled for breath amid the crowds.
Shanghai’s historic Bund riverfront runs along an area of narrow streets amid restored old buildings, shops and tourist attractions. The China Dailynewspaper in February reported that the city’s population was more than 24 million at the end of 2013.
Last year, 14 people – some of them children – were killed and 10 injured in a stampede that broke out as food was distributed at a mosque in China’s Ningxia region.
Also last year, six students were killed in a stampede at a primary school in Kunming in the southwest, after the accidental blocking of a stairway corridor.
UPDATED : Friday, 02 January, 2015, 12:36am
One Malaysian was among the 36 people killed in the New Year eve stampede on Shanghai’s Chen Yi Square (The Bund) while another was injured, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed today in a statement.As the victim’s family has yet to be informed, the ministry only identified the person as a “Malaysian student at a university in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province”.
The ministry said efforts were being made to inform the family.
It did not state which part of Malaysia the two victims were from.
The ministry said the Malaysian injured in the historic waterfront incident was 20-year-old Ooi Hooi Yi, who suffered from bleeding in the eyes and “some minor bruises”.
The ministry said she was receiving medical treatment at the Changzheng Hospital in Shanghai and that officers from the Consulate General Malaysia in Shanghai had visited her at the hospital.
The officers reported that she is in stable condition.
The ministry said the Consulate General in Shanghai was still checking the list of victims to confirm if other Malaysians were involved.
Shanghai new year crush kills 36
A crush at New Year’s Eve celebrations in Shanghai has killed 36 people and injured some 47 others, Chinese officials say.
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.
The Shanghai City government said the situation began to deteriorate 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.
Light show before the stampede
Many of the dead are believed to be students, with 25 of them women, state media report.
President Xi Jinping has told the Shanghai government to find the causes of the crush as soon as possible, according to state TV.
A traditional new year fireworks display on the Bund had already been cancelled due to official fears of overcrowding, the Shanghai Daily reports.
The BBC’s John Sudworth in Shanghai says the investigation may focus on why so many people turned out despite the cancellation and whether there were enough police resources in place to look after them.
‘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 watched,” she said.
“There were really too many people!” wrote one user of Sina Weibo – a Chinese equivalent of Twitter. “Squeezed inside, you could not budge, and could only move with the crowd.”
The user, called iiisay, 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.
I feel the pain of the families. May the souls RIP. Stay strong.
The Universe works in mysterious ways, humans beings cannot possibly understand.
Our condolences, prayers and hearts go out to all 4 directions in 2015.
Stay strong. God help us as we help ourselves and others.
#StayStrong #FocusonPositive #InspiretobeGREAT #GiveBack #EmpathizeOthersSuffering #ShanghaiStampede #TripleDisasterPremonition #TripleLuck
#QZ8501 #MalaysianFlood #TalibanSchoolKilling