339 killed in panic at Cambodian water festival

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA— The death toll from a stampede on a bridge in Cambodia’s capital rose to at least 339 people with nearly just as many wounded, the prime minister said on Tuesday.Most of the victims were crushed or drowned, after thousands panicked late on Monday when several people were electrocuted while celebrating the end of an annual water festival.

Prime Minister Hun Sen apologized on television for the disaster. State television said two hospitals reported 278 were killed, among them 240 women.

Many people died after leaping from the bridge across a tributary of Tonle Sap river in Phnom Penh, authorities said.

Authorities had estimated that upward of two million people would descend on Phnom Penh for the three-day water festival, which marks the end of the rainy season and whose main attraction is traditional boat races along the river.

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