Thailand: Nightclub fire in Phuket kills 4, injures more than 20 (VIDEO)

A flip-flop lies on the ground in front of the burnt remains of the Tiger nightclub in Phuket on August 17, 2012.

Four people, believed to be foreign tourists, died and more than 20 others were injured after a fire broke out in a nightclub on the Thai resort island of Phuket in the early hours of today.

The New York Times reported that authorities were still trying to identify the charred bodies pulled out of the smoldering remains of the Tiger disco on Pathong Beach, an area popular with foreign tourists.

“We received more than 20 people who sustained injuries from the Tiger Pub fire. Most are suffering from suffocation," a hospital employee told Agence France-Presse.

"Two are in critical condition from severe burns. One of them is a French man who suffered burns on his torso," she said.

"The four dead bodies were burnt beyond recognition. We cannot identify even their gender."

Another three French citizens and seven Thais were among the injured.The Associated Press, citing police Major General Chanasit Wattanawarangkun, said an initial investigation in the cause of the deadly fire suggests sparks from an electricity transformer near the nightclub triggered the blaze after heavy rains temporarily cut power in parts of the island.

This incident will further damage Thailand’s image as a safe and friendly tourist destination and is likely to revive debate about the lack of safety measures in Thai nightclubs.

In 2009, a fire ripped through the Santika nightclub in Bangkok killing 66 party-goers celebrating New Year’s Day.

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