Chhath puja celebrations turned into a nightmare for devotees as several people were feared dead after a makeshift bridge collapsed triggering a stampede at Adalat Ghat area in Patna on Monday evening.

“There was a stampede and a lot of confusion. We don’t know the exact number of casualties yet,” Bihar Director General of Police Abhayanand, who reached the site to supervise the rescue operations, told The Hindu on the phone.

Around 17 persons, including children are believed to have died in the tragic incident. The injured persons were rushed to the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH).

The Bihar authorities had built a bamboo bridge at Mahendru ghat, near Adalt Ghat. When the bridge collapsed the crowd of people were directed to another area at the banks, through an approach road. Since the crowd increased in the approach road, devotees carrying the puja material on the heads started to push through the crowd leading to a stampede.

The Chhath puja is widely celebrated in Bihar where devotees throng to river banks to offer prayers to the sun.