Stampede Kills 10 at 'Largest Gathering in History'

Massive gathering attracts up to 30M devotees to bathe

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Feb 10, 2013 12:45 PM CST

(Newser) – At least 10 people were killed and a dozen more injured today after a stampede broke out at a train station in the northern Indian town where millions of devout Hindus gathered for a religious festival dubbed the "largest human gathering in history." As many as 20 people are feared dead, and some 30 others injured. News reports said the large crowds caused a section of a footbridge at the station to collapse leading to the accident.

News reports said tens of thousands of people were at the train station at the time. Television showed large crowds pushing and jostling at the train station as policemen struggled to restore order. "There was complete chaos. There was no doctor or ambulance for at least two hours after the accident," an eyewitness told NDTV news channel. An estimated 30 million devotees were expected to take a dip at the Sangam, the confluence of three rivers—the Ganges, the Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswati—today, one of the holiest bathing days of the Kumbh Mela, which lasts 55 days.

Hindu devotees take a holy dip at 'Sangam', the confluence of Hindu holy rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, during the Maha Kumbh festival at Allahabad, India, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013.   (Rajesh Kumar Singh)
A Hindu devotee prays after a holy dip at Sangam, the confluence of Hindu holy rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, during the Maha Kumbh festival at Allahabad, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013.   (Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Shoes and other belongings discarded by Hindu devotees are strewn across the ground at Sangam, the confluence of Hindu holy rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013.   (Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indian Hindu holy men walk in procession after bathing at Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati River, during the Maha Kumbh festival, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013.   (Kevin Frayer)
"Naga" sadhus shout slogans before taking a holy dip at Sangam, the confluence of Hindu holy rivers Ganges, Yamuna, and Saraswati, during the Maha Kumbh festival, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013.   (Manish Swarup)
"Naga" sadhus, or Hindu naked holy men, take a ritual dip at Sangam, the confluence of Hindu holy rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the Saraswati, during the Maha Kumbh festival, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013.   (Saurabh Das)
A "Naga" sadhu or Hindu naked holy man takes a dip at Sangam, the confluence of Hindu holy rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the Saraswati, during the Maha Kumbh festival, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013.   (Saurabh Das)
Hindu devotees walk across pontoon bridges to take a holy dip at Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna, and mythical Saraswati River, during the Maha Kumbh festival, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013.   (Manish Swarup)
Naga sadhu or naked Hindu holy men arrive for a holy dip at Sangam, the confluence of Hindu holy rivers Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati, during the Maha Kumbh festival, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013.   (Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Indian holy men shout slogans and take a holy dip at "Sangam," the confluence of Hindu holy rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, during the Maha Kumbh festival at Allahabad, India, Sunday,...   (Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Devout Hindus bathe at Sangam, the confluence of Hindu holy rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, during the Maha Kumbh festival at Allahabad, India, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013.   (Saurabh Das)
Hindu devotees pray against a setting sun after a holy dip at Sangam, the confluence of Hindu holy rivers Ganges, Yamuna, and the Saraswati, during the Maha Kumbh festival, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013.   (Rajesh Kumar Singh)
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