German children trampled in horse stampede

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Forty-four people were injured, most of them children, when some 100 horses ran amok during a night-time torchlit procession, police said Friday.

One 14-year-old girl was left fighting for her life after the incident, but is now stable, authorities said.

Around 100 children aged between eight and 17, accompanied by six adults, were riding on Thursday night in Emsland, northwestern Germany, when something spooked the horses, causing them to unseat their riders and trample those on the ground.

Police spokesman Achim von Remmerden told rolling news channel NTV that an investigation into the incident had been launched but the reason for the stampede was not yet known.

German media have speculated that one of the adults dropped a burning torch on the ground, spooking the horses.

The injured children were rushed to hospitals in the region while the terrified horses were rounded up.

© 2010 AFP

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