A total of 37 people were killed and 15 injured in a Lantern Festival gathering Thursday night in Beijing's suburban Miyun County, sources with the municipal government said.
The accident happened at 7:45 pm Thursday in the Mihong Park where people were celebrating the Lantern Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the first Chinese lunar month and is regarded as the last day of the Spring Festival.
One spectator stumbled on a bridge in the park and a lot of people fell down accordingly. Many of them were suffocated to death. Doctors rushed to the spot right after the disaster.
Upon hearing the mishap, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao called for utmost efforts to save the injured and urged investigation into the cause of the accident. Municipal leaders Liu Qi and Wang Qishan had gone to the scene to guide rescue work.
All the tourists to the lantern show had been sent away.
Miyun is located about 65 km to the northeast of Beijing's downtown.
(Xinhua News Agency February 6, 2004)