59 killed in New Year’s nightclub fire in Thailand

At least 59 people were killed and more than 180 were injured in a fire that broke out early Thursday in a Bangkok nightclub.

Witnesses said some 800 people were packed into the Santika club when they heard a loud explosion.

bangkok thailand new year fire

The cause of the fire was not immediately known. Police suggested it could have been caused by an electrical fault.

“We were all dancing and suddenly there was a big flame that came out of the front of the stage and everybody was running away,” one woman told Reuters.

Most of those who died in the building died from smoke inhalation or were trampled in a rush to get out of the club, police said.

According to authorities, most of the fatality victims were Thai, but foreigners have been identified from Australia, the Netherlands, Nepal and Japan.

Dozens of bodies lay on the pavement outside the club waiting to be taken away in pick-up trucks.

Bangkok is renowned for its nightlife, but many clubs are loosely regulated and often have poor fire safety systems. The Thai capital was hit two years ago on New Year’s Eve by a series of small explosions in which several people were killed and dozens injured.

Photo: Reuters