KARACHI: At least 11 people, including four doctors and four women, have died and 75 others, including three cricketers, were also injured when a huge fire erupted at Karachi's Regent Plaza hotel on early morning Monday, rescue sources and a doctor told Daily Times.
According to rescue workers, the blaze broke out at around 3:00 AM in the kitchen located at the ground floor of the four-star hotel on Karachi's busiest thoroughfare-- Shahrah-i-Faisal. The smoke swept through air conditioning system throughout the building, trapping scores of hotel guests in their rooms.
Executive Director Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) Dr Seemin Jamali has said that around 74 injured and 11 bodies were brought to JPMC. "Most of them have died due to suffocation and amongst the injured were people who had fractured bones after jumping from the hotel windows to escape the fire, others had been hurt by shattered glasses," she added.
Four doctors including District Health Officer (DHO) Umerkot district, were among the deceased. They were staying in the hotel to attend a training session.
The injured included three Chinese nationals and three Pakistani cricketers: Sohaib Maqsood, Aamer Yamin and Shahzaib Hassan. First class cricketer Yasin Murtaza got his foot fractured after jumping from the second floor of the hotel. The cricketers were staying in Karachi to participate in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy that has been cancelled after the incident.
The luxury hotel has more than 400 rooms and it was almost full when the fire broke out. Khalid Mehmood, a survivor injured in the incident, told Daily Times in JPMC that many people jumped from the windows as there was no fire exit. "We and many other people tied the bed sheets, curtains and threw them out of the windows to use them as ropes, we descended down from the fourth floor, but many of us had to jump midway, as the rope made from bed sheets was not long enough."
Karachi's mayor Waseem Akhtar told reporters outside the hotel that the cause of the fire was not clear but would be fully investigated.