Leaked Police Photos From The Santika Nightclub Tragic Fiery Inferno in Thailand


Warning, this Post is Very Graphic!

About 64 people have been killed and over 100 injured in a fire at a nightclub in Bangkok Thailand on New Years Eve, some reports say an electrical problem caused the fire but this has not been confirmed. Several witnesses said a fireworks display during the New Year's countdown ignited the blaze. But one club goer said he saw no pyrotechnics at the club and a video shot by a guest showed many inside the club waving sparklers shortly before the fire erupted. These are the first photos of the scene below.

The news about the Santika Bangkok nightclub fire that killed dozens of young people New Years Eve is terrible, but not surprising. Once you see the scene time and time again across many clubs, you don’t get surprised when you hear horror stories of only one exit in the Santika nightclub used for entering and exiting. Most nightclubs are set up the keep people from sneaking in but that also prevent people from finding a speedy exist. The photos are of the aftermath of Santika nightclub fire in Bangkok, Thailand are being forwarded via email. I hate censorship but I am not sure whether to post these leaked photos. The only good that can come from this tragedy is that the next time most young people enter a nightclub the first thing they will do is look for an emergency exit. You have been warned about the photos!

Here is the poster that promoted the event.

Here is a video minutes before the Santika Nightclub Fire in Bangkok, Thailand on Dec 31 2008 at 11:44 PM. You can see how packed the club was 15 minutes before the fire.

It was billed as a New Year's Eve blowout and a last-night celebration of the wildly popular, classy nightclub before it moved to a new location. "Goodbye Santika," the promotion poster read.

Among the casualties were a Singaporean who died and at least 35 foreigners who were injured, including citizens of Australia, Belgium, Britain, France, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the United States, according to officials and reporters.

A full accounting was not expected for about a week since nearly 30 of the corpses were charred beyond recognition.

A senior Bangkok official, Pongsak Kasemsan, ordered a preliminary investigation report to be completed within three days and vowed to crack down on unsafe entertainment venues, some of which have been described as death traps by local residents.

"Everybody was pushing against each other trying to get out to the front door as quickly as possible. I saw people, particularly young girls, being pushed away and crushed underneath as others were stomping on them trying to get out," said Sompong Tritaweelap, who lives in an apartment behind the nightclub.

Victims died from burns, smoke inhalation and injuries during the stampede.

The owner of a Thai nightclub where more than 60 people died in a horrific fire on New Year's Eve is to face criminal charges over the blaze.

Police have said Wisuth Setsawat, a Thai-Chinese businessman, who ran the Santika club will be charged with carelessness that led to the deaths of others.

He has already been charged with allowing in an underage customer, a 17-year-old high school student who was found among the 64 bodies hauled from the building.

Setsawat broke down in tears Sunday as he said sorry to relatives of the victims, before being questioned by police over the fire last Wednesday night.

Around 1,000 people were celebrating the start of 2009 when the fire broke out just after midnight.

Pictures of the party showed many were holding sparklers inside the building, prompting speculation either they or indoor fireworks caused the blaze.

It raced through the two-story building within minutes as party-goers struggled to escape through a single exit. The windows had been barred.

Police General Jongrak Jutanont, who revealed the charges, pledged: 'More investigations will follow to pinpoint everyone who is responsible for this.'

More than 100 witnesses have already been interviewed about the fire and at least 13 people questioned including Wisuth.

These included managers of his company and staff who had been hired to put on the countdown fireworks display in the club.

Jongrak said this was considered the probable cause of the fire.

The death toll from the blaze now stands at 64 after two of the injured died as a result of their burns.

Almost another 80 people are still being treated in hospital, including 17 foreigners. At least four Britons were injured.

Police Col. Nithi Banthuwong, who is in charge of identifying the dead, said nine severely burned and disfigured bodies had yet to be identified.

Accompanied by his lawyer and friends, Wisuth reported to police yesterday afternoon after failing to show up at the station on Saturday.

He denied fleeing, saying he has suffered from smoke inhalation after the fire started.

'I'd like to apologize to the relatives for the dead people and the injured,' he said as he raised his palms in the traditional Thai prayer-like 'wai' gesture.

He broke into tears as he tried to continue talking to reporters.

The club's 31 business partners have decided to set up a fund to help those affected by the tragedy and some compensation had already been paid to relatives of 11 dead and injured victims, his lawyer said.

He added that Santika has not renewed its fire insurance, which expired four months ago, meaning he could not have been attempting to cash in on the policy.

The Phranakorn Center, an official agency dealing with accidents in Bangkok, said at least 64 people died and that 35 foreigners were among the injured. The Narenthorn Emergency Center, which was coordinating relief efforts, said more than 200 had been injured.

Police Lt. Col. Sujettana Sotthibandhu, a forensics expert, said it might take about a week to identify almost 30 bodies that were badly disfigured.

Mourners some with coffins of victims in the back of trucks trickled to the club to pray and to give offerings to the dead, while scores of people including foreigners remained in hospital after the tragic night.

Thanawut Santhong, who lost three friends, told the Bangkok Post newspaper that fire broke out within an hour of revellers ringing in the New Year.

He said each guest was given a sparkler to light up during the countdown to 2009, but suddenly smoke engulfed the club and all the lights went out.

"People were in panic after the blackout," he said. "The situation became worse as people screamed fire ’ and tried to escape." He recalled party-goers crying, screaming, pushing and stepping on top of one another as they struggled to steer a way through the few doors out of the club, while flames rained down on people ’s hair and clothes from the ceiling.

The Santika Club, popular with young, affluent Thais as well as tourists and expatriates, was celebrating not only the New Year but also the last night at its location in the Ekamai entertainment district. The owner was planning to move to a new location since the lease on the property could not be extended.

The Web site of The Nation newspaper quoted one partygoer, Somchai Frendi, as saying the blaze was caused when the countdown fireworks ignited the second floor ceiling, which was covered with soundproofing material.

Sompong quoted a maid at the club as giving a similar account.

"Some of the sparks fell onto the carpeted floor as well. Within seconds, smoke was everywhere," he quoted her as saying.

But Steven Hall, 35, from Cardiff Wales in Britain, said he saw no fireworks on the stage.

"As far as I could see, the fire looked like it started at the ceiling level," Hall said in a hospital interview. "The first thing I remember was seeing people on the stage and seeing flames coming out from along the ceiling level above the stage and seeing embers come down and looking at the faces of people on the stage looking horrified."

"There was a band and a DJ — I could not see any pyrotechnics," he said.

Police Lt. Gen. Jongrak Jutanont said an initial investigation found the club's safety system was "substandard" but did not elaborate.

The club was packed with about 1,000 celebrants, police officers at the scene said. Rescue workers said most of the bodies were found in a pit area surrounding the stage.

The corpses, placed in white body bags, were laid out in rows in the parking lot in front of the club, which was strewn with shoes of the victims, water bottles, parking stickers and other debris.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva visited the still-smoldering club just after dawn. Later, during a visit at one of the hospitals, he said, "The question is why they let someone take fireworks inside the pub and light them up."

Safety regulations are often loosely enforced in Thailand. A 1994 law requires motorcyclists to wear helmets, but bareheaded riders with policemen blithely looking on are a common sight on Bangkok's streets today.


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