Festival stampede in China kills 37

BEIJING, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- At least 37 people were killed Thursday in the crush of festival goers crowded onto bridge in a park near Beijing during Chinese New Year celebrations.

$? The accident happened at 7:45 p.m. Thursday in the Mihong Park where people were celebrating the Lantern Festival, regarded as the last day of the Spring Festival.


People had packed on to a canal bridge in the suburban park to watch a lantern and fireworks display. Witnesses said someone on the bridge fell, causing others to fall in a cascade of people, crushing and suffocating the victims.

The BBC reported hundreds of people were involved in the accident, and cited witnesses who described scenes of frantic parents searching for their children in sub-zero temperatures.

Mihong Park is located in Miyun County, 45 miles from the center of China's capital Beijing.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao called for an investigation into the accident's cause, Xinhua reported. Municipal leaders Liu Qi and Wang Qishan had reportedly gone to the scene.

The Lantern Festival falls on the 15th day of the first Chinese lunar month.

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