India: Deadly Stampede On River Ganges Bridge

At least 18 people have been killed and several others injured during a stampede on a bridge over the Ganges River in India.

The bridge collapsed under people returning home from a Hindu religious ceremony in Patna, in the eastern state of Bihar, Indian police said.

Worshippers had been offering a sunset prayer in celebration of the Chhath festival, dedicated to the Sun God Surya.

The temporary bridge, made from bamboo, collapsed due to the heavy rush of people - mainly devotees and their family members.

The bodies of those killed - which included children - were transported to the Patna Medical College Hospital for post-mortems. Injured people were admitted for treatment in nearby hospitals.

A senior police official said the stampede had been triggered by the collapse of the bridge. He added that several people were still missing after falling into the river.

More than 400,000 people were present during the ceremony.

Stampedes occur occasionally in India, especially during religious ceremonies which tend to attract huge crowds.