Kerala temple tragedy toll climbs to 112

Thiruvananthapuram, April 11 (IANS) Two more victims of the Kerala temple fire tragedy died here on Monday morning, taking the death toll to 112, doctors and officials said.

Two middle aged youths succumbed to their injuries at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital where 124 people are still being treated, doctors said.

The condition of nine others continued to be serious, a doctor said.

The pre-dawn Sunday tragedy at the Puttingal Devi temple in the coastal town of Paravur in Kollam district, about 60 km from here, also left more than 350 people injured, some critically.

A team of medical professionals who arrived from Delhi has split into two. One group has been attached to the Kollam district hospital while the other group is at the state-run hospital here.

At Kollam, senior officials of the health department and the Delhi team took stock of the treatment procedures and decided that there was no need to shift any of the patients out of the district.

The Delhi team will visit all the hospitals in Kollam to assess the condition of the patients.

Fourteen bodies at Kollam and four in Thiruvananthapuram are yet to be identified.

The Kerala government on Monday decided to open a temporary medical outpost at the temple premises. It will function for a week.

The tragedy occurred at about 3.30 a.m. on Sunday when a spark from an firecracker landed on a building where a huge quantity of powerful firecrackers were stored, setting off massive explosions and a fireball that brought down the structure, witnesses said.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has announced a judicial probe and an investigation by the Crime Branch of Kerala Police into the tragedy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the site on Sunday.

Police in Paravur have registered a case against 20 people, including the
temple committee members and the contractor, his son and their workmen who
organised the fireworks display.

Meanwhile, Gopan, who visited the temple with four friends to witness the fireworks display, returned to the venue on Monday with his left hand in a sling and told the media that two of his friends were missing.

“We went to all the hospitals and they are not to be found. Nor have they reached their homes. And there is no response on their mobiles,” said a distraught Gopan.

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