Nearly 100 children hurt in China school stampede: report

Posted at 11/29/2010 2:12 PM | Updated as of 11/29/2010 6:36 PM

BEIJING, China (UPDATE 2) - Dozens of children were hurt, seven of them seriously, after a stampede Monday at a primary school in China's far-western Xinjiang region, state media reported.

A spokeswoman for the regional government also told AFP by phone that one of the children was in a coma after the accident in the city of Aksu.

The spokeswoman, Hou Hanmin, said a total of about 100 students were sent to hospital but it was unclear how many actually were injured and how many have been sent to hospital protectively.

Forty-one were admitted to hospital, she said.

The accident occurred as school children were rushing outside to a playground around lunchtime when some students in the lead tripped and fell, various reports said.

No deaths have yet been reported.

The school in Aksu -- located 650 kilometres (400 miles) southwest of the regional capital Urumqi -- has more than 1,800 students, the report said.

Last week, a deadly stampede in Cambodia during the annual water festival left 351 people dead in the country's worst tragedy in decades.

Safety at Chinese schools has come under the spotlight following a string of deadly attacks on young students this year.

At least six attacks on schoolchildren have taken place in various parts of the country, most of them between March and May, leaving 20 people dead, including 18 children, and more than 80 injured.

Authorities have beefed up security at schools, deploying thousands of police and security guards and installing video surveillance and alarm systems to guards against further attacks.

China has about 220 million primary and middle school students.