There were a lot of people who travelled around the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve, and many went to Shanghai. However, the celebration turned ugly when a stampede of people broke out around 30 minutes before midnight. The end result was the hospitalisation of 47 people and deaths of 36 others. China said that this is one of the worst disasters to hit Shanghai in recent years.
The stampede occurred at Che Yi Square, one of the most popular riverfronts in the city. This part of the city is rimmed with art deco-style buildings that are still standing from the 1920s to 1930s, during which Shanghai was mostly just home to trading houses and international banks. During major events, this area is usually jammed packed with people, and New Year’s Eve was no different.
It is believed that the people who fell first had even more people fall on top of them. These people were unable to get up because they were being run over and climbed on. The number of people involved was so great that some of the victims who died during the event were suffocated from the large number of people who fell on top of them. Among those who were killed was a person from Taiwan. Another Taiwanese and a Malaysian person were also injured during the stampede.
The Shanghai government said that it didn’t expect such a large crowd this year, which means that it was unprepared. Officials are trying to gather information about what caused the stampede in the first place. Most of the witnesses said that everything was pure chaos and no one seems to know what caused people to start running. American Andrew Shainker, 28, said that he saw the disaster play out from a restaurant. The whole scene was just utter chaos. Despite seeing it happen, Andrew said that he was unable to tell what caused the stampede.
A young Chinese women in her 20s, attending the event with her three friends, said that she could hear people screaming all around her. She saw some people fall to the ground and get run over by others. She heard lots of people screaming don’t rush. There were so many people pushing and running that she couldn’t stand well. She added that she became separated from her friends, and she has yet to hear from one of them.