At least 100 people have been killed by a temple fireworks blast at a Hindu temple in the Indian state of Kerala as per police reports.
The local media reported that the blast of the fireworks happened during the celebration of a local New Year festival at around 03:03.
Many deaths occurred as a result of the temple’s buildings collapsing. Over 200 injuries have been recorded.
Indian PM, Narendra Modi said via his Twitter account that the incident is “heart-rending and shocking beyond words.” He is traveling to the area of the disaster.
Hundreds of people have gone to the temple to search for their friends and relatives early in the morning. On the other hand, emergency teams have made use of bulldozers to clear the area while searching for survivors.
A team of specialist doctors was being sent from Delhi amid reports of horrific burns suffered by those injured. Many are said to be in a critical condition in several hospitals.
Kerala police chief said that those who have been charred beyond recognition will be identified by the use of DNA tests.
The temple was filled with thousands when the explosion happened. Images from the TV have shown that big clouds of smoke were formed as fireworks went off into the sky.
It is said that one of the victims was 1 kilometer from the scene when a piece of flying concrete hit him.
“Huge pieces of concrete were flying through the air,” said resident Jayashree Harikrishnan. “Chunks landed in our yard.”
“It was complete chaos,” resident Krishna Das told Associated Press.
“People were screaming in the dark. Ambulance sirens went off, and in the darkness no-one knew how to find their way out of the complex.”