The death toll from a prison fire in Honduras is likely to surpass 300, officials said on Wednesday.
Security minister Pompeyo Bonilla said authorities had confirmed the deaths of 272 inmates “but we believe there are more than 300” fatalities at the Comayagua prison.
Separately, Human Rights Commissioner Ramon Custodio said that of the more than 850 inmates housed in the prison, 357 were unaccounted for.
“It does not mean that everyone of them is dead,” the official said, noting that some might be injured or had escaped during the fire. Dozens of burned inmates were taken to hospitals in the central city of Comayagua.
The prison fire, the world’s deadliest of the past decade, was believed to have broken out around 0450 GMT on Wednesday. Investigators were looking into whether it was caused by an inmate or by a short circuit.
Meanwhile hundreds of distraught relatives clashed with police and then stormed into a prison desperate to learn the fate of loved ones.