More than 59 people were killed last night when a fire tore through a popular nightclub here in Bangkok. Approximately 1,000 people had gathered there to celebrate the new year.
Here’s a round-up of media coverage:
For video of the incident, there’s this, from BBC News: “Eyewitness films Thai club fire”
NY Times: “At Least 59 Die in Bangkok Club Fire”
A fire at a high-end Bangkok nightclub killed at least 59 people and injured more than 200 shortly after midnight Thursday as revelers were celebrating the new year, the police said.
Nightclub workers said fireworks had been set off around the midnight countdown, but the cause of the fire has not been determined, according to Lt. Sutin Pongkhamphan, the police officer in charge of the case.
He said 54 people died at the scene at the popular club, the Santika, and that five more died at hospitals. An additional 212 people were injured, 21 severely.
AFP: “New Year inferno at Bangkok nightclub kills at least 58”
Police forensic investigators sifted through the charred remains of an upscale Bangkok nightclub Thursday, seeking clues to a blaze that killed 58 revellers ringing in the New Year and injured 243.
Relatives and friends gathered at Bangkok hospitals and outside the popular nightspot desperate for news of loved ones lost or injured in the inferno that gutted the two-storey building.
Police said a Singaporean national was killed and scores of other foreigners — some from Australia, France, Japan and Britain — were hospitalised.
The blaze apparently broke out after a firework display at the Santika club in the Thai capital’s Ekkamai district, a thronging entertainment hub which is frequented by locals and tourists.
AP: “Fire at Bangkok nightclub kills 61, injures 200”
It was billed as a New Year’s Eve blowout and a last-night celebration of the wildly popular, classy nightclub before it moved to a new location. “Goodbye Santika,” the promotion poster read. Before the revelry was over, at least 61 people were dead and more than 200 injured after they tried to flee what swiftly became a charred, gutted ruin in a glitzy Bangkok entertainment area.
Among the casualties was a Singaporean who died and at least 35 foreigners who were injured, including citizens of Australia, Belgium, Britain, France, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the United States, according to officials and reporters.
A full accounting was not expected for about a week since nearly 30 of the corpses were charred beyond recognition.
BBC: “Hazy safety in Bangkok party zone”
Bangkok is a party town, and spectacular New Year celebrations are held in many of the clubs which have made the city’s nightlife renowned around the world.
The Santika was a spacious, two-storey club, stylishly decorated like a mock gothic cathedral, complete with fake arches and a large cross hung from the ceiling.
A natural magnet for partygoers, it had become one of Bangkok’s most popular entertainment venues, packed out with young Thais and foreigners at weekends.
A friend of mine was on the dance floor shortly after midnight, when he first noticed the fire.
He told me he had seen small fireworks being tossed from the stage to celebrate the New Year – then noticed flames around the stage and creeping up to the ceiling.
Suddenly, he said, the flames seemed to be everywhere, and the lights went out.
He described people stumbling towards the single entrance, trying to light their way with their mobile phones.