Four charged in Thai nightclub disaster

March 2010

Live events industry

Four people have been formally charged over the New Year’s Eve nightclub fire in Bangkok that left 67 people dead at the Santika nightclub in Bangkok. Three Santika employees and the lead singer of the band on stage when the fire broke out (Burn) have been charged with various counts of gross negligence. The fire broke out in the packed club as about 1,000 people were celebrating the start of the New Year. Hundreds of people were trapped inside the building, which had no proper fire exits, no sprinkler system, no emergency lights and was registered as a private residence. Witnesses said people were trying to find their way to the single exit using their mobile phones for light. The club was in an area where nightclubs were banned, the owners had failed to get an entertainment licence and the city architect’s signature on the building design approval had been forged according to a Ministry of Justice investigation. Thai police have been criticised for the slow pace of their investigation and there have been many accusations of lax enforcement of fire regulations. Band singer Saravuth Ariya has been charged with setting off the fireworks that police believe sparked the blaze. Three more people have been indicted over the fire but were not in court. Santika’s co-owner and the head of the company that installed the pyrotechnics both said they were too ill to attend court, while a third person remains on the run.

Wise advice? “If you go to a nightclub in Bangkok, and you want to be safe, always check where the exit is, and stay close to it” Prasong Tharacha, Engineering Institute of Thailand

See and for more on this topic see “After the Great White Tragedy – where now with crowd safety legislation” at  (Articles)

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