Carrefour apologizes for stampede

Updated: 2007-12-29 20:16

CHONGQING -- A Carrefour outlet issued an apology on Saturday in response to a stampede triggered by a sales promotion that left three people dead and injured 31 last month.

In the letter of apology, the outlet in southwest China's Chongqing city, where the stampede occurred, said that it would take responsibility for, and learn from, the accident.

Also on Saturday, authorities in the outlet told Xinhua reporters that all those responsible for the tragedy had been punished.

According to an investigation conducted by the local government, the stampede took place when Duan Chengwei, a security officer in the supermarket, tried to stop people from rushing in by blockading an entrance with a table. But that move backfired and caused the stampede.

Duan was remanded to local judicial authorities after the investigation.

The investigation also showed that the store was responsible, both because of the mishandling of the emergency and a lack of accident prevention measures.

The Carrefour outlet was fined 500,000 yuan (about 68,000 US dollars).

Two other persons deemed responsible for the incident, including the supervisor of the outlet, were also fined.

Twenty-three of the 31 injured have so far been discharged from the hospital.

The incident took place when a three-day promotion was launched at the hypermarket in the city's Shapingba District to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the French retail giant's opening in the city.

The shop offered an 11.5 yuan saving from the original price of 51.4 yuan for a five-liter bottle of edible oil. When it opened its doors for business, huge crowds rushed in and the stampede began.

The Ministry of Commerce issued an emergency directive last month banning time-limited sales promotions following the deadly stampede.

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