Romanian nightclub fire death toll rises to 41

Death toll from nightclub fire in Bucharest that toppled down government rises to 41

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Emergency services work outside a nightclub in Bucharest, Romania October 31, 2015

Nine more people have died of their injuries this week after the October 30 tragedy at the capital's Colectiv club, when fireworks let off during a rock band's performance triggered a blaze and a stampede as panicked revellers tried to get out.

The fire sparked mass anti-government protests, with many viewing compromised safety standards at the club as emblematic of Romania's wider problem with rampant corruption.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who had been under pressure for weeks as he goes on trial on corruption charges, quit on Wednesday, saying it was right for top officials to take responsibility for the tragedy.

Seven of those who died this week, all badly burned and suffering from respiratory problems, succumbed to their injuries in hospitals in Bucharest, medical and government sources said.

The two others -- one Romanian and one Italian national -- passed away in the Netherlands, where they had been transported on Friday for treatment, interim prime minister Sorin Campeanu told a press conference.

Six more blaze victims are still being treated in Dutch burn units, and are said to be in a serious condition.

Overall around a hundred people, most of them young, remain hospitalised -- dozens of them in critical condition, according to the Romanian government.

Initial investigations suggest numerous breaches of the safety rules at the club, including a lack of emergency exits and the fact that flammable materials were used for sound insulation.

The club's three bosses, detained since Tuesday on manslaughter charges, did not have the authorisation to host concerts, let alone pyrotechnic shows.

Ponta's resignation has not stemmed the huge protests by Romanians demanding a "profound change" in the way the country is governed.

On Saturday, some 3,000 people again demonstrated in Bucharest, while hundreds more protested in the cities of Cluj and Sibiu in the north, and Timisoara in the west.

"Romania, wake up!" chanted protesters gathered at Bucharest's University Square, the epicentre of the 1989 revolt that toppled the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

Some 15,000 had spilled into the streets of the capital on Friday.