SAO PAULO, Brazil (CNN) – Panicked crowds pushed toward the exits as fire swept through a packed nightclub in southern Brazil early Sunday. At least 233 people were killed.
Workers combing through the charred wreckage of Kiss nightclub in southern Brazil on Sunday encountered the eerie sound of ringing cell phones.
Glauber Fernandes, a reporter from CNN affiliate Band News, explains.
“It was really complicated scene. A lot of smoke, a lot of shoes that was left, cell phones, because everybody tried to get out of there running,” he said. “While we were there, we saw the cell phones were ringing. It was parents, friends, trying to know about what was happening and nobody was answering.”
A fire swept through the packed, popular nightclub in Santa Maria early Sunday, killing at least 233 people — enough to fill a large plane — Brazilian Health Minister Alexandro Padilha told reporters. Of those, 185 have been identified so far.
Many apparently died from smoke inhalation, state-run Agencia Brasil reported. Others were trampled in the rush for the exits, one security guard told Band News.
More than 90 people were hospitalized, Padilha said, including 14 patients with severe burns.