106 killed, 383 injured during unauthorized firework show in India

A large explosion occurred during a firework show when event organizers lost control of their firework inside a temple in India Sunday morning, killing at least 106 people.

According to The Press Trust of India, 106 people were killed and 383 people were injured at approximately 3:30 a.m. early Sunday during a firework show, when a major fire engulfed the 100-year-old Puttingal Devi Temple complex in Paravoor Village, in Kerala, India.

According to The Times of India the annual fireworks show is normally held in April, however this year permission was not granted but the organizers went ahead and had the event anyways.

Thousands of people had gathered at the temple precincts to witness the display that started at 11 p.m. Saturday and was supposed to last until 4 a.m. Sunday.

As the firework show was coming to an end an explosion erupted, flattening parts of the packed Hindu temple. According to several news sources, including TI it is estimated that somewhere between 10,000 to 15,000 people were in and around the temple when the explosion happened.

According to the release, police at the scene said “the mishap occurred as sparks of the fireworks fell on the store room ‘Kambapura’ and the fire crackers kept in that room exploded with a deafening noise.” People were trapped inside the building, and died when the structure collapsed.

PTI further reports that “the blaze spread quickly trapping the devotees within the complex. Charred bodies and human remains were strewn around the temple complex after the fire tragedy”. A massive effort was launched to rescue people from the inferno and move injured people to various hospitals, with the Navy and Air Force pressing into service six helicopters and one Dornier aircraft, said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy according to PTI.

According to TI, officials of the Puttingal Devi temple have reportedly gone missing after the incident. They are nowhere to be found and their phones are switched off.

The death toll is still rising Sunday.