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More than 100 killed in India temple blaze

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described the accident as “heart-rending and shocking”.

Image: TotalTvNews/YouTube

Updated at 6pm 

A MASSIVE EXPLOSION and blaze apparently sparked by a stray firework during an unauthorised display killed over 100 people and injured scores more at a temple in southern India today.

Thousands had packed overnight into the Hindu temple complex in Kerala state where the firework is thought to have landed on a stockpile of others, triggering a huge blast that tore through concrete buildings.

“It came like a storm, throwing everyone to the ground. There were bodies all over the place and the injured were writhing in pain,” said Anish Kumar, who had gone with his friends to see the display at the Puttingal Devi temple in Kollam district.

“I was horrified to see hundreds of men and women on the ground lifeless,” said Kumar, who lost one of his friends in the disaster.

Source: Manorama News/YouTube

Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the accident as “heart-rending and shocking beyond words” and toured the complex and met the injured in a hospital.

“The incident is so grave that it is very difficult to describe in words. People who were 200 metres away were also hurt,” Modi said.

And right now the doctor was telling me that some of the blasts were such that some people’s bodies were blown apart.

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A team of specialist doctors were deployed from New Delhi amid reports of horrific burn injuries. The navy and air force also sent helicopters to evacuate the most critically injured, officials said.

“[The] total death total is 106 with 75 of those identified and 31 unknown,” a spokesman for Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told AFP.

- © AFP, 2016

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