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Unstable Bridge Blamed for Deadly Cambodian Stampede

A Cambodian man compares a photo to those of stampede victims at Preah Kossamak Hospital in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 24 Nov 2010

The death toll from a bridge stampede in the Cambodian capital has risen to 456 as officials compile death tolls reported from provinces outside the city.

Social Affairs Minister Ith Sam Heng told reporters Wednesday that the number jumped from around 350 to the current level as the provinces reported their casualty numbers to the capital.

He said some of the bodies of the dead were taken home immediately after the accident and some of the injured died at home.

Earlier, a member of the government panel investigating the stampede said the group has concluded the tragedy was caused by mass panic when the overcrowded suspension bridge began to sway.

Hundreds of people were on the bridge Monday night after attending a festival on an island in the river.

Prime Minister Hun Sen described the stampede as the nation's greatest tragedy since the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror during the 1970s. A national day of mourning will be observed Thursday.

Some information for this report was provided by APP.