Rumours that a river close to Beichuan had burst its banks and that water was set to flood the area sparked panic in the quake-hit city on Saturday.
Rescuers and quake survivors alike immediately evacuated the city. The BBC's Paul Danahar in Beichuan described it as a "stampede".
Panicked people ran as fast as they could from city which was largely destroyed in Monday's quake.
Some were lucky enough to have a vehicle in which to flee.
These old people, unable to run, were placed in a bicycle cart for the evacuation.
Medical workers ran with injured victims on stretchers.
And this old lady had to rely upon the efforts of a young rescue worker who carried her on his back.
The evacuation meant that all rescue work was suspended, forcing medics to leave people who were still trapped behind.
People clambered up onto the steep hills surrounding the city to seek refuge, though the feared deluge did not occur.