Dozens of children are missing, feared dead, following an inferno at a shopping centre in Russia.
The latest death toll from the Kemerovo blaze at the Winter Cherry centre in Siberia is 56 with 47 injured and many still unaccounted for.
There are unconfirmed reports in the industrial city that at least 96 bodies have been found in the mall, with 30 found in one cinema and 37 in another.
Pictures emerged of the missing children with little hope that any will be found alive in the carnage of the shopping centre as firefighters struggled to reach the worst-hit areas.
Of the 56 confirmed dead as many as 41 could be children.
The children were burned alive in a furnace of up to 700C, it was reported.
A video showed the panic at the start of the tragedy with parents screaming for their children and others shouting “fire, fire”.
Another highlighted fire doors locked and people unable to escape.
An 11-year-old boy Sergei Moskalenko is in a coma after jumping from a blazing window – a fall seen on video as he hit an awning – and it was confirmed this morning that his parents died in the fire.
One girl, Maria Moroz, 13, messaged from the cinema: “We are on fire….”
A relative replied then she said: “Looks like this is farewell from me.”
She is feared dead.
Kemerovo lies about 2,200 miles east of Moscow.
Among the missing are eight girls from one class in Treschevsky village – all 11 or 12 years old – named as: Viktoria Pochankina, Veronika Ponushkova, Elena Chernikova, Tatiana Kurchevskaya, Sergey Maneshkin, Viktoria Zipunova, Anastasia Smirnova, Diana Nizovskaya.
In a heartrending final phone call Viktoria ‘Vika’ Pochankina told her aunt: “Everything is burning.
“The doors are blocked.
“I can’t go out, I can’t breath.”
Her aunt Evgenia said: “I told her: ‘Vika, take off your clothes, cover your nose’.
“She told me: ‘Auntie, tell all my family I love them.
“Tell mum that I loved her’.”
The call ended.
Evgenia added: “The school vacations have just begun and almost all their class was there – about 10 people.
“Two or three parents and a teacher.
“The teacher left the kids in the cinema and went with parents in the shopping mall. So all the adults survived…”
A Kemerovo high school teacher Tatiana Darsalia’s body was the first to be identified.
She had brought her class to the shopping mall.
Owner of the shopping mall Nadezhda Suddenok has also been detained for questioning. The official in charge of fire safety and a senior manager are also being held.