Stampede kills at least 27 people during Hindu religious bathing festival

Bathing festival participants

At least 27 people were killed and dozens injured Tuesday in a stampede during a Hindu religious bathing festival on a river bank in southern India.

The stampede occurred in Andhra Pradesh state as tens of thousands of people pushed forward to bathe in the Godavari River on the first day of the Pushkaralu festival, said Arun Kumar, a state administrator.

Stampede kills at least 27 people

The stampede was triggered by some pilgrims who were trying to retrieve their shoes, which had fallen off in the rush to the river bank, police said.

The stampede happened in the morning hours after the 12 day festival had just started.

According to AFP, Andhra Pradesh’s chief minister, Chandrababu Naidu, said 27 people had died in the stampede. 34 more people were hospitalized with injuries
Andhra Pradesh’s chief minister, Chandrababu Naidu
It is believed that a bath in the river can rid the participants of their sins.

One witness told AFP that the stampede lasted nearly 20 minutes and it took the police more than an hour to calm the situation.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi used his twitter account to express his grieve over the tragedy

In October 2013, a stampede in Madhya Pradesh in central india killed more than 110 people.

Deadly stampede are fairly common during Indian religious festivals because of the large crowds that gather in small areas with few safety measures.