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CNN BREAKING NEWS

47 People Dead in Club in Caracas, Venezuela

Aired December 1, 2002 - 08:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KRIS OSBORN, CNN ANCHOR: We've been talking this morning about reports that 47 people are dead at a fire in a nightclub in Caracas, Venezuela. We have some more additional information on this. We are joined now on the phone by Ligimat Perez, a journalist who joins us on the phone from Caracas, Venezuela. Are you with us?
LIGIMAT PEREZ, JOURNALIST: Yes. Good morning. Forty-seven people died in a big fire that took place at a nightclub in downtown Caracas around midnight. The authorities saying this might not have been an accident, but could be caused by sabotage. The emergency exits of the club were locked by the time that fire took over the bar. Also, there are some witnesses who stated that a group of people started shooting inside of the building right before the fire started.

Three hundred people were at the place at the moment of the tragedy, but most of them escaped through the main entrance, and 20 are being held at a closed hospital. Forty-seven people died, asphyxiated. That's the information we have so far.

OSBORN: Are you hearing anything from officials about the kind of nightclub this is? Is this a tourist location? Who might have been there when this happened?

PEREZ: This was a small club located in downtown, which makes you think that it's not a big place. We're talking about a small establishment inside of a residence building. So we're talking about a place that could have not been bigger than probably four or five- room apartment, to give you an idea of the space. And there were 300 people inside of it, so it was actually packed by the time the tragedy occurred.

OSBORN: Thank you very much. And many of them, as you point out, seem to have gotten away and survived. Thank you very much. That was Ligimat Perez, a journalist joining us from Caracas, Venezuela, on the latest information related to reports now confirmed from officials there in Venezuela that 47 people have died in a fire in a nightclub in Caracas, Venezuela.

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