Lost shoe triggered Xinjiang primary school stampede, principal

15:08, December 01, 2010      

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The primary school stampede that left 41 children in hospital in northwest China on Monday was triggered when a girl bent down to pick up a lost shoe on a flight of stairs, the school head told Xinhua Wednesday.

The girl, Madina, 8, was knocked over and buried under dozens of children on the 1.5-meter-wide stairwell of the second floor of the four-storey building, said Aytursun Metniyaz, principal of Aksu No. 5 Primary School, in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Hundreds of other children behind her kept pushing, unaware of the accident, as they hurried to the playground at 11:55 a.m..

Madina was the most severely injured of the 41 children admitted to the No. 1 People's Hospital of Aksu. A total of 123 children were taken to the hospital.

Madina is still being treated in the intensive care unit, but is out of danger, according to hospital staff. "She can even sit up and take fluids," said a doctor, who declined to give his name, Wednesday.

Madina's mother, Mayrgul, has been at the hospital since the accident. "When I first came and saw my girl, she couldn't recognize me. I'm so worried." The mother and daughter like many ethnic Uygurs have only one name.

Aygul, a teacher who was guiding the children to the playground, saw Madina being crushed. She tried to pull the girl up, but was pushed over herself.

"It turned chaotic in a second," Aygul said. About 10 teachers ran to the stairwell and restored order in minutes.

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