updated 1/1/2005 6:29:14 PM ET 2005-01-01T23:29:14

Thirty-six children were injured in a sledding accident during an all-night New Year’s Eve party hosted by a religious organization.

Three of the children were hospitalized, but all were in stable condition Saturday, hospital officials said. The others were treated and released.

Police Sgt. Winston Black said more than 100 children ages 12 to 19 attending a Youth for Christ event gathered at a high school around 4 a.m. to slide down a hill using sleds built out of cardboard boxes.

A sign posted on the hill prohibited sledding.

The children and Youth for Christ staff piled eight to 12 passengers on the sleds, then went down the hill in quick succession, Black said. “The sleds struck rocks, a light pole and each other,” he said.

Black said he did not know if the organization had permission to use the hill. Police were investigating.

Larry Stenson, director of the Minot Youth for Christ, said Saturday that the injuries happened when some of the children went down the wrong hill — one that was much bigger than the hill organizers intended to use.

Stenson said parents of the injured children “were gracious.”

“They know that it was an accident,” he said. “I think most of them believe our intent with kids is to love them, help them — help kids grow mentally, physically and spiritually.”

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