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Nightclub death toll to rise 'significantly'

Published:Sunday | November 1, 2015 | 12:00 AM


Romanians wept, cursed and prayed Sunday as they mourned the victims of a fire in a nightclub, while doctors warned the death toll could rise "significantly" because so many of the injured have severe burns.

As the nation entered its second day of mourning, thousands paid their respects at the Colectiv nightclub in Bucharest's 4th district - the scene of Friday's tragedy that so far has killed 29 people and left dozens badly burned.

In a separate show of grief, thousands walked silently through the capital city of 3 million yesterday afternoon, carrying flowers and photographs of the dead.

Over 140 people are still hospitalised around the Romanian capital, and 90 of them are in serious condition, said Raed Arafat, an emergency-situations official. He added that the death toll could double.

Treating victims of a nightclub fire is more complicated than treating someone for a localized burn, Arafat said.

"Many sustained burns to their trachea and lungs, aggravated by the kind of noxious gases you find in foam and furniture, which give off toxic substances such as cyanide. Also, many people were trampled on," he said. "From this point of view, the prognosis and chances (of survival) are reduced."

Ioan Lascar, a doctor at the Floreasca Emergency Hospital, agreed the death toll could rise "significantly" because so many of the injured have severe burns.

"Treatment for burns is the most complex and costly treatment imaginable," he said. "We are talking about long-term hospitalisation: a month, a month and a half, two, sometimes even more."

Lascar said the emergency hospital had performed 11 tracheotomies over the weekend to help victims of the accident breathe because they had suffered burns to their lungs. The procedure involves an incision being made to the windpipe, and a tube is inserted, which is connected to a ventilation machine, which provides more oxygen to the lungs.