Eight dead, 26 hurt in China school stampede

December 8th, 2009 - 12:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Dec 8 (IANS) Eight students were killed and 26 injured Monday night in a stampede at a central China school, authorities said Tuesday.
The stampede took place around 9 p.m. in a narrow second-floor staircase at the privately-run Yucai Middle School in Xiangxiang, a city in Hunan province, reports Xinhua.

The students had just finished their evening study session and were going downstairs to their dorms when one of them tripped and caused dozens others to lose balance, said a publicity official with the Xiangtan city committee of the Communist Party of China.

Seven boys and a girl, all aged between 11 to 14, were killed in the stampede.

Five of the students were seriously injured.

The five-storied school building had four exits, but the majority of the students had chosen the one closest to their dormitory building, said Chen Xinwei, a school official.

Students and teachers were in tears and stood in tribute before classes began Tuesday morning to remember the dead and pray for the injured.

A joint investigation team consisting safety and public security officials are looking into the cause of the accident.

The 12-year-old junior high school has 3,500 students on its rolls.

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