10 dead as stampede mars India’s Ganges festival

Updated 11 February 2013
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10 dead as stampede mars India’s Ganges festival

Allahabad, India: At least 10 people died in a stampede on Sunday as devotees headed home from India’s giant Kumbh Mela festival, which drew a record 30 million people to the banks of the river Ganges.
The lives were lost at the main railway station where 10 corpses wrapped in white sheets could be seen on a train platform several hours after the incident which occurred in the early evening, an AFP photographer said.
Dozens more were injured in the crush and some local television channels put the death toll as high as 20.
Local officials said that the railings on a bridge at Allahabad station had given way under the pressure of the mass of people, while eyewitnesses told local media that the police had baton-charged the crowd leading to panic.
“People were taking rest on these railings and the railings could not take the load. The joints broke,” a spokesman for the local Uttar Pradesh state, Ashok Sharma, told AFP.
The tragedy came at the end of a day which organizers had earlier declared a success.
“By afternoon over two crore (20 million) people had taken the holy dip and by evening the numbers crossed three crore (30 million),” top local official Devesh Chaturvedi told a press conference.
Police had been stretched in controlling the vast crowds, he admitted, and one person had died for unknown reasons, while another later succumbed to injuries sustained in a crush.
Thousands of volunteers on duty and police urged pilgrims to take one short bath and then leave the waters to make space for the flow of humanity behind them which stretched for kilometers.
The Kumbh Mela, which began last month and ends in March, takes place every 12 years in the northern city of Allahabad. Smaller, similar events are held every three years in other locations around India.


Three of four engines on stricken Norway cruise ship restarted

Updated 24 March 2019
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Three of four engines on stricken Norway cruise ship restarted

  • The Viking Sky lost power and started drifting mid-afternoon Saturday about two kilometers off More og Romsdal in dangerous waters and high seas
  • The captain forced to send out a distress call and trigger a massive airlift operation

OSLO: A cruise ship that broke down in rough seas off the Norwegian coast with some 1,300 passengers and crew on board has restarted three of its four engines and will be towed to port, emergency services said Sunday.
“Three of the four engines are now working which means the boat can now make way on its own,” emergency services spokesman Per Fjeld said.
The Viking Sky lost power and started drifting mid-afternoon Saturday about two kilometers (1.2 miles) off More og Romsdal in dangerous waters and high seas, prompting the captain to send out a distress call and trigger a massive airlift operation.
The airlift was continuing in the early morning, Fjeld said.
Police said 338 of the 1,373 people on board the Viking Sky had so far been taken off by helicopter.
The vessel is making slow headway at two to three knots (4-5 kilometers) an hour off the dangerous, rocky coast and a tug will help it toward the port of Molde, about 500 kilometers northwest of Oslo, officials said.
Police said that 17 people had been taken to hospital.
The passengers are mostly British or American, they added.