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Death toll revised down

Photo by: Heng Chivoan

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The Cambodian government has revised the death toll from Monday’s stampede on the Diamond Island bridge down from 456 to 347.

The revision was made in a letter signed by Minister for Social Affairs Ith Sam Heng released on Thursday morning.

"The total number of dead victims is 347," the letter said, adding that 221 of the deceased were women.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany joined senior government officials and hundreds of mourners at Diamond Island bridge, the site of Monday’s stampede, to lay wreaths and pay respect to deceased.

The premier broke down into tears as he placed joss sticks at a memorial wreath layed out at the foot of the bridge and prayed for the victims of the tragedy, before leaving in a car immediately afterward.

Om Yentieng, the deputy chairman of the commission coordinating the response to the Diamond Island incident, told reporters at the ceremony that 90 percent of people interviewed had all identified the same cause for the stampede.

“Based on the examination of the corpses, injured people and witnesses from direct inspections of the site, the tragedy occurred when people started pushing each other,” he said.

He acknowledged that the bridge had also started swaying, exacerbating the stampede, but said investigations had found no evidence to confirm eyewitness reports that victims had been electrocuted.

“We did not reject with the information of people being electrocuted by wires, but the examination of the corpses and injured people did not show any sign of electrocution and the electric wires on the bridge were not broken, the lamps were still lighting,” he said.

He added investigations into the precise cause of the stampede would likely finish next week.

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