Some 500 police officers were sent to keep order at the site of the crush that killed 36 people during New Year celebrations in Shanghai, a spokesperson for the Public Security Bureau of the city’s Huangpu district said at a press conference held Thursday afternoon.
“We immediately deployed police from the surrounding streets and called in those on duty. Due to a large crowd at the site, police squeezed their way to enter. We sent some 500 police officers to keep order and direct the rescue,” said Cai Lixin, deputy head of the command center at the Huangpu branch of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau.
The stampede happened around 23:35 on Wednesday in Shanghai’s historic Bund area, where tens of thousands of people had gathered to watch a New Year’s Eve fireworks show.
Among the deceased were 25 women aged from 16 to 36, said authorities. The incident also left 47 others injured.
Members of the public linked hands with police officers to hold back the crowds to give the injured space and to enable ambulances to access the site.
“When the reinforcements hadn’t arrived, we immediately dispersed people. We mobilized some to work with us to form a human wall to protect injured ones. After traffic police ushered in reinforcements, we grouped two to carry down injured ones. As we have learned first aid, we also gave them cardiopulmonary resuscitation,” said Lin Hai, police officer at Dabuqiao Branch, Huangpu public security department.
Some survivors said the stampede was triggered when people in a bar threw coupons resembling U.S. banknotes to the crowds of revelers on the street below.
Coupons bearing the bar’s name, M18, were apparently thrown from a third-floor window overlooking the Bund.
So far, the bar has not been reached for comment, and local police have said the cause of the stampede is still under investigation.
The Shanghai municipal government has set up four working teams for rescue operations and to deal with the aftermath.
According to official data, Shanghai’s population numbers over 23 million.
Report compiled with information from CCTV News.