At least 19 people have been killed and up to 30 are missing after a huge fire tore through a casino-hotel complex in Cambodia."The number of deaths may reach more than 20," said Sek Sokhom, head of the Banteay Meanchey provincial information department. Sixty people had been injured, he said.
Authorities said that the blaze at the Grand Diamond City Casino and Hotel in the border town of Poipet started late on Wednesday.
Sithi Loh, police chief in Banteay Meanchey province, said 360 emergency personnel and 11 fire appliances were sent to the scene and rescue teams were looking for victims.
Khieu Sopheak, an interior ministry spokesperson, said it was not clear how many people were still inside the building.
"We don't know how many are trapped inside and now we are only trying to save lives," he said, adding that the cause of the fire was still unclear. Around 400 people are employed by the casino.
At least 10 people have been killed in a fire that ripped through a hotel in Cambodia. It happened inside the Grand Diamond City hotel in Poipet, a city on the border of Cambodia and Thailand. It's understood at least another 30 people have been injured. #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/pJ73FkfUjI
— 7NEWS Sydney (@7NewsSydney) December 29, 2022
Videos on social media showed people appearing to be jumping out of upper floors of the hotel.
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Footage shared by the Ruamkatanya Foundation, a volunteer Thai rescue team that assisted in the operation with Reuters, showed a crew in the fire escape stairwell of a building putting on respirator masks and fire-resistant hoods before entering a smoke-filled corridor.
Authorities in Cambodia requested assistance from Thailand for rescue operations.
Poipet in western Cambodia is opposite the more affluent Thai city of Aranyaprathet.
The area is known for its busy cross-border trade and tourism.
Casinos are an important part of Cambodia’s tourism industry.
It has casino complexes in Phnom Penh and along its borders with Vietnam and Thailand.
(Additional reporting by agencies)