ALLAHABAD - At least 18 people were killed in a stampede in the Indian city of Allahabad on Sunday as Hindus returned from a river dip at the world's largest religious festival.

An overcrowded railway station footbridge buckled and a railing collapsed, sending some people slipping down the stairs and triggering the stampede, a top state government official reported.

Once every 12 years, tens of millions of pilgrims stream across India to the small northern city of Allahabad for the Maha Kumbh Mela, or Grand Pitcher Festival, at the point where the Ganges and Yamuna rivers meet a third, mythical river.

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