Bucharest: Romania was plunged into mourning on Saturday after 27 people were killed and nearly 200 injured when a fire ripped through an underground nightclub in Bucharest.
Survivors spoke of the horror that unfolded when fireworks — set off during a pre-Halloween gig by a heavy metal band — unleashed a blaze, followed by a stampede as terrified clubbers sought the exit.
The government declared three days of national mourning and organised an emergency cabinet meeting, due to start at 1030 GMT.
The blaze broke out at around 11:00 pm (2100 GMT) Friday at the Colectiv night club, where according to witnesses between 200 and 400 youngsters had gathered for a performance by rock group Goodbye to Gravity.
Twenty-six people died in the club and one died in hospital, the secretary of state for the interior, Raed Arafat, said after a meeting of a national emergency committee.
Of the nearly 200 injured, 146 people were hospitalised for burns, smoke inhalation and other injuries, he said. Hospital sources said nine were in a critical condition.
The band´s singer and bassist were said to be in a serious condition, according to local reports.
“This is the worst tragedy of its kind” to have ever happened in Bucharest, Arafat said.
President Klaus Iohannis said he was “shocked” and in “deep pain.”
“It is a very sad moment for our nation,” he said in a post on his Facebook page, expressing his “solidarity and compassion” for the families of the victims.