Families of victims who died in the 2010 stampede on Koh Pich Bridge said they have still not come to terms with the tragic accident during anniversary ceremonies held yesterday.
Holding a portrait of his daughter in the ceremony to commemorate victims of the stampede, Oum Bunreoung said through tears that he still could not understand how such a thing could happen.
“I am unable to understand how my daughter died because there has been no reasonable explanation,” he said. “My daughter should not have died in a stampede like this.”
Mr Bunreoung said he had heard many rumours as to why 353 people died and dozens more were injured in the stampede, including electric shock, a collapse of the bridge and others, none of which he can understand.
“The tragedy happened years ago but I still miss my daughter and still pray for her every year at home,” he said, adding that he comes to join the annual commemoration in Phnom Penh near a stupa built in the victims’ honour each year.
Standing nearby the memorial stupa, Chhoun Tet, 49, the mother of a 17-year-old victim, said she still misses her daughter.
“I want the authorities to hold this religious ceremony for the victims every year,” she said.
Map Sarin, chairman of Phnom Penh council, said at the ceremony that family members of the victims can continue to gather each year to pray for those who died.
“The government and City Hall decided to hold this ceremony with victims’ families every year so that the families can honour their children,” he said.
Mr Sarin said the tragedy, which occurred during the Water Festival, served as a lesson for event planning and public order to prevent such incidents again.
After the stampede, the government set up a commission to find the cause, but later announced that the tragedy was an accident. No one was held responsible.
Prime Minister Hun Sen called it an “unexpected mistake”.