KARACHI: The death toll of Karachi’s Regent Plaza fire rose to 12 after rescuer retrieved another body from the gutted hotel.
On Monday evening, another body was retrieved from the hotel which pushed up the toll to 12.
It is to be mentioned here that at least 12 people were killed and more than 1o0 injured after a fire broke out in the hotel at Shahrah-e-Faisal in the wee hours of Monday.
The fire broke out in the kitchen located in the basement of the hotel which engulfed the whole building through air conditioning ducts.
Firefighters struggled for hours to extinguish the fire owing to lack of fire fighting vehicles and other equipment and non-availability of fire fighting system in the hotel.
About 100 people were reportedly trapped inside the hotel and were evacuated by rescue workers using a crane.
Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar visited the site of the incident. Talking to media he said that the rescuers and firefighter faced difficulty in putting out the fire and rescue operation due to to absence of emergency exits and fire alarms.
Dr. Seemi Jamali, Executive Director at the Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Complex (JPMC), said that 30 of the victims brought to the hospital were in critical condition and were being treated for asphyxiation.
Among the injured were foreigners staying at the hotel, including some Chinese officials.
According to Faisal Edhi, the foreigners present inside the hotel could not understand Urdu because of which some of the rescue effort was hampered.
Guests inside the hotel, desperate to escape the blaze, jumped from windows and scrambled down knotted bedsheets and curtains to leave the building.
SSP District South Karachi Saqib Ismail Memon said rescue teams reached the site promptly and broke window panes to rescue those trapped inside the hotel.
One of the survivors from the hotel fire spoke to the media stating that she thought she won’t be able to make it out alive until help came to the rescue.
Chief Fire Officer KPT Saeed Jadoon said the hotel duty manager died while attempting to contain the fire and save others from the blaze.
The official said the rescue work was completed in three and a half hours and 11 floors of the hotel were all searched and cleared.
Pakistan cricket team batsmen Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Amin and Hammad Azam were present in the hotel at the time of the tragedy. UBL cricketers were also staying at the hotel and were evacuated from their rooms following the deadly fire.
Bowler Yasin Murtaza jumped from the second floor to the ground and fractured his ankle. Karamat Ali was injured by broken glass, according to sources.
The cricketers are in Karachi for the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy tournament. Following the incident PCB postponed the third day’s play of the ongoing match, as many of the cricketers were too shaken to play.
A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) spokesperson confirmed 16 of the airline’s cabin crew members were injured in the blaze. Most of these crew members belong to Islamabad and Peshawar.
DIG South Azad Khan confirmed most of the deaths occurred due to suffocation, while one person died due to burns.