Russian nightclub blast leaves 103 dead
A massive blast triggered by fireworks display caused a stampeded in a jampacked Russian nightclub in the Ural mountain city of Perm, killing at least 103 and wounding 130 others, as officials ruled out a terrorist attack.world Updated: Dec 05, 2009 19:04 IST
A massive blast triggered by fireworks display caused a stampeded in a jampacked Russian nightclub in the Ural mountain city of Perm, killing at least 103 and wounding 130 others, as officials ruled out a terrorist attack.
But unofficial figures put the toll at 113. Local radio stations, quoting officials, said it could climb further as 88 of the injured were in critical condition.
Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev told President Dmitry Medvedev that the initial probe had ruled out any evidence of a terrorist act.
220 people were packed for a weekend revelry in the club around midnight when the mishap took place. These comprised mostly employees and their families, who were partying to celebrate the highly popular nightclub's 10th anniversary, ITAR-TASS reported.
The tragedy happened when the organisers of the party put up a fireworks display inside the nightclub, as embers caused flames which swept through the club as people scrambled for safety.
"The majority of the deaths were the result of burns or gas inhalation," state news agency RIA Novosti quoted Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for Russia's top investigative body, adding "Along with this, there was a crush at the exit."
Medvedev declared a state of mourning on Monday in his televised address where he called for stringent action against the culprits.
However, it was not yet clear whether the gala closing of the 'Year of India' on Monday in the state-owned Bolshoi Theatre by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would be held as per schedule.