Frontman joked about fire before fatal blaze
Published 02/11/2015 | 02:30
Survivors of a deadly nightclub fire and stampede in Romania say the lead singer of the heavy metal band on stage made a joke at first about the fire before it engulfed the basement club in central Bucharest.
Hundreds of young people had gone clubbing at the hip Colectiv nightclub on Friday night to enjoy a free concert by the Goodbye To Gravity band.
The evening ended in horror as the inferno caused a panic that killed 27 people and injured 180 others. Some 146 people remain in hospital, some in critical condition suffering from burns and smoke inhalation. Officials expect the death toll to rise in what is the worst disaster of its kind ever in Romania.
Premier Victor Ponta cut short a visit to Mexico to return to Bucharest and declared three days of mourning.
It is reported 17 of those who died have still not been identified. Witnesses told Antena 3 TV that between 300 and 400 mostly young people had been at the club, housed in a former factory, when a pyrotechnical show went awry. They said there was only one exit.
Delia Tugui, a teacher at the American International School of Bucharest, posted on Facebook: "The lead singer made a quick joke: 'This wasn't part of the programme.' The next second, he realised it wasn't a joke and asked for a fire extinguisher. In 30 seconds ... the fire spread all over the ceiling."