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Erasmus exchange students among victims of Bucharest blaze


Erasmus exchange students among victims of Bucharest blaze

Twenty-year-old Turk Ayberk Manci was among a group of Erasmus exchange students at Bucharest’s Colectiv nightclub late on October 30.

Fireworks set insulation foam ablaze, triggering a stampede towards the single exit and trapping many of the roughly 400 people inside.

Manci died on Sunday (November 8) from the horrific injuries he sustained after a fire broke out at the club.

Romanian media reported that Manci died with his parents by his side.

Italian Tullio Ciotola (20) was been part of the same group and suffered eight serious burns on her body. She had been airlifted to a specialist unit in the Dutch city of Rotterdam but died on arrival.

Turkey’s Ambassador to Romania, Osman Koray Ertas, is helping arrange consular assistance for many of the victims. He spoke to euronews about the students.

“They left the night club together after the fire,” said Ertas. “It’s very dramatic they took a taxi together, according to one slightly injured Turkish girl. And they went to hospital together. On the way, they all said they were okay. Even the Turkish boy who died said there was no problem. But when they arrived at the hospital the Italian girl and our boy started screaming. Of course they were rushed to emergency.”

“With the goodwill of the health ministry and Turkish army, four specialist doctors came here to help,” Ertas added. “One of the doctors was the President of the Turkish Burns Council, Yalcin Yasli. I personally met him at the airport . We went straight to the hospital. He started working right from day one. He attended many operations, supporting his Romanian colleagues.”

The doctors from Romania France, Israel, the UK and other countries have been hailed by ordinary Romanians as heroes.

Investigation Underway

On Saturday (November 7), anti-corruption prosecutors said they had taken Cristian Popescu Piedone, mayor of the Bucharest district where Colectiv is located, into custody. He had resigned in the wake of the protests.

They said evidence had shown that Piedone granted a working permit for the club despite the fact it did not have authorisation from firefighters.

“Given that several … events took place … in broadly unsafe public conditions, the lives, health and physical integrity of the audience and staff were permanently put in danger,” prosecutors said in a statement.

The club’s three owners were taken into custody on November 2. City hall clerks and the owners of the company that installed the fireworks were also being investigated.

The fire has prompted an outpouring of community support, with people donating blood and money and volunteers taking food and drinks to hospitals for medical staff and victims’ families.

Outside the club, people continued to light candles and lay flowers in remembrance.