109 dead in Kerala tragedy, 24 critical: Minister

Thiruvananthapuram, April 11 (IANS) The fire tragedy at the Puttingal Devi temple in Kerala has killed 109 people and 24 others are in critical condition, Health Minister V. Sivakumar announced on Monday.

Official sources had in the morning put the death toll at 112 after two young people succumbed to their injuries in a hospital here.

Giving the latest official figures, the minister said 109 people died in the Sunday morning tragedy when a huge quantity of firecrackers went up in a fireball.

The temple is located in the coastal town of Paravur in Kollam district, about 60 km from Thiruvananthapuram.

The minister said 24 people continued to be in critical condition. Among them, 15 were in Kollam and nine in Thiruvananthapuram.

Only two of the dead were women, he said.

Fourteen bodies were unclaimed in hospitals, the minister said. DNA tests would be conducted on them.

Sivakumar said 327 patients were undergoing treatment in hospitals in Kollam (221) and Thiruvananthapuram (106).

Sivakumar spoke after a high-level meeting of medical experts from the state and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.

He said the AIIMS doctors agreed there was no need to shift the patients outside of Kerala as the treatment available in the state was adequate.

“Ten specialist doctors will arrive today (Monday) to help the present medical team,” Sivakumar said.

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