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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2861

Bangkok : 59 New Year Revelers Killed, 212 Injured

Bangkok, 01 December, ( Fire at an Ekkamai pub kills at least 59 and injures 212 in New Year countdown disaster.

Fire broke out at popular Santika Pub located in Ekkamai Soi 9 (Sukhumvit 63) Wednesday night, killing people celebrating the New Year countdown.

The fire raged through the popular Santika Club in the opening minutes of Thursday as partygoers were celebrating New Year.

Witnesses said that several hundred revelers were packed into the club premises, located at Ekamai Soi 9, a popular nightlife zone, when the fire broke out after midnight, shortly after the clubbers joined the countdown for the New Year.

Police said victims died from burns, smoke inhalation and injuries during the stampede to escape the club, which reportedly had only one entrance for the public.

Video reports of the disaster broadcast on Bangkok television stations showed the fire raging throughout the building even as rescue workers were trying to halt the blaze. Fire and rescue workers pulled victims from the club even while the blaze continued.

Bodies of the unfortunate revelers seeing in the New Year who died in the fire were shrouded in white sheets, the growing number of corpses collected on the street near the scene of the tragedy.

Bangkok's Deputy Police Commissioner-General Pol Lt-Gen Jongrak Juthanon said many of those killed and injured were foreigners. He said they were tourists from Nepal, Austria and Japan.

However, there were about 30 bodies that were "very difficult to idenfity". All bodies were initially sent to the Chulalongkorn Hospital but forensic officials were overwhelmed with the task and help was being sought from the Police Hospital.

TV Channel 7 reported that at least 59 people were killed and more than 200 injured.

TV footages showed the entire three-storey structure, which covered hundreds of squaremetres, on fire. Tearful revellers were being comforted by friends.

Over two hundred persons were injured, with some 212 persons being sent by ambulance and rescue vehicles to various hospitals in the area, most suffering burns and smoke inhalation.

Foreign residents and international tourists were reportedly among the victims.

By daybreak on New Year's Day, the fire was completely extinguished and police were investigating the cause of the fire. Some observers said the fire was set off by fireworks used as special effects during the stage performance of the countdown, while others that it was an electrical fault.

Thailand's prime minister visited the scene of a tragic New Year's Eve party where 59 persons died and several hundred were injured.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva thanked the police, fire and rescue workers responding to the disaster and asked the police to quickly identity the victims and determine the cause of the blaze, which apparently began when fireworks used to highlight the countdown set off combustibles in the popular hi-so club.

- Asian Tribune -

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