A horror story. Thirty-six killed, 47 people injured:
Hong Kong (CNN) -- Zuo Zhijian says the heavy crush of bodies around him on the Shanghai waterfront left him unable to move his legs.
"I also had someone grabbing my hair from the back, struggling and breathing heavily," Zuo said. "A girl in front of me held me desperately and said, 'Help me, help me, please. I can't make it anymore.' There was also a girl completely motionless underneath."
Zuo was one among many people caught up in the stampede on the Bund, an area along the Huangpu River in China's most populous city that draws big crowds for New Year's Eve festivities. He described his traumatic experience on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform on which he's a verified user.
The stampede, which began roughly 25 minutes before midnight, killed 36 people and injured 47 others, the Shanghai city government said. Many of the victims were female students, state media reported.
'Girls crying and shouting for help'
"I was surrounded by the sounds of girls crying and shouting for help with their last strain of effort, and of people fighting and throwing curses at each other," said Zuo, who works in the media sector.
Another witness, 28-year-old Tian Ye, who works in import-export logistics, told CNN how he'd gone down to the waterfront to enjoy the festivities because he lives nearby.
Instead, he found himself only about 30 meters (about 100 feet) from the scene of the deadly crush.
"When me and other young men saw people had fainted, we rushed there to do CPR and carried them to the ambulance and police cars," he said.
The stampede lasted only about 30 seconds, he said, but it took about 10 minutes to carry everyone out.
"There were way too many people stuck down there without a clear entrance or exit; people got stuck and panicked. A lot of police gathered in that central area, but more police could have eased the consequences," he said.
"When someone fell down, people behind would think the crowd is moving, so more people were moving forward and falling."