01/01/2015 05:41 GMT | Updated 01/01/2015 06:59 GMT

Shanghai New Year Stampede That Killed 36 'Caused By Someone Throwing Fake Money'

The Shanghai stampede that killed 36 New Year revellers may have been caused by someone throwing fake money into the crowd.

Relatives streamed into hospitals on New Year's Day, anxious for information after the stampede in Shanghai's historic waterfront area killed 36 in the worst disaster to hit one of China's showcase cities in recent years.

A Shanghai government said another 47 people received hospital treatment, including 13 who were seriously injured, following the chaos about a half-hour before midnight.

The state news agency Xinhua reported that someone threw coupons that looked like "dollar bills" from a third floor window and people scrambled to reach these - though this had not been independently verified.

The microblog of the People's Daily, which is run by the ruling Communist Party, said that the injured included 3 Taiwanese and one Malaysian, and that some of the dead and injured were aged between 16 and 36.

Relatives desperate for news clashes with police at one of the hospitals where the dead and injured were being taken.

Photo gallery Shanghai See Gallery

An elderly couple arrived at the Shanghai No. 1 People's Hospital looking for their grandson who had gone out to celebrate New Year's Eve on the Bund, where the stampede happened.

Another man looking for his 25-year-old son carried photos of him, but left when told that the bodies still not identified there were female.

At one of the hospitals where the injured were being treated, police brought photos out of dead victims who they had not been able to identify, causing dozens of waiting relatives to crowd around the table.

Not everyone could see, and young women who looked at photographs someone had taken on a cellphone broke into tears.

A saleswoman in her 20s said she had been celebrating with three friends. "I heard people screaming, someone fell, people shouted 'don't rush,'" she said, adding she could not reach one of her friends. "There were so many people and I couldn't stand properly."

Another man said he had identified the body of his wife's cousin at the hospital. The victim had gone out to celebrate the New Year on the Bund and his wife was on her way from Anhui province in the east.

CCTV America, the US version of state broadcaster China Central Television, posted video of Shanghai streets after the stampede, showing piles of discarded shoes amid the debris.

One photo from the scene shared by Xinhua showed at least one person doing chest compressions on a shirtless man while several other people lay on the ground nearby, amid debris. Another photo showed the area ringed by police.

Steps lead down from the square to a road across from several buildings.

"We were down the stairs and wanted to move up and those who were upstairs wanted to move down, so we were pushed down by the people coming from upstairs," an injured man told Shanghai TV. "All those trying to move up fell down on the stairs."

People began laying tributes at the scene of the disaster.

Photo gallery Shanghai See Gallery

The stampede took place at Chen Yi Square, which is in Shanghai's popular riverfront Bund area, an avenue lined with art deco buildings from the 1920s and 1930s when Shanghai was home to international banks and trading houses. The area is often jammed with spectators for major events.

On Thursday morning, dozens of police officers were in the area and tourists continued to wander by the square, a small patch of grass dominated by a statue of Chen Yi, the city's first Communist mayor.

Police stood guard at Shanghai No. 1 People's Hospital, where many of the injured were being treated.

Last week, the English-language Shanghai Daily reported that the annual New Year's Eve countdown and laser light show, which attracted about 300,000 people last year, had been cancelled, because of "crowd control issues".