Kuwait tragedy tent had only one exit
Kuwait City, August 16, 2009
A Kuwaiti wedding tent, where 41 women and children died in a fire on Saturday, had only one exit, an official said, causing a stampede that compounded the death toll.
'Since the first spark of the fire, the attendees rushed to the tent's exit and we found the bodies at the exit, it was a very painful scene,' Colonel Mohammed Al-Saber, Interior Ministry spokesman, told Reuters on Sunday.
'The tent, which had 13 pillars and could seat more than 200 people, unfortunately had only one exit,' he said.
Kuwait banned wedding tents on Sunday after the blaze tore through the women's tent at the wedding in the Al-Jahra district, west of Kuwait city.
More than 70 people were injured in the blaze, which broke out at 1820 GMT on Saturday.
Kuwait state news agency Kuna said on Sunday that 41 bodies had been recovered from the smouldering remains of the tent.
Investigations are still ongoing to determine the cause of the fire, Saber said.
Weddings in Kuwait are mostly segregated, with women seated separately from men. Tents are often erected especially for the occasion. - Reuters