x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Iraq hotel fire dead to be sent home

A Dubai-based company is working with Kurdish officials in northern Iraq to send home the bodies of eight employees killed in a hotel fire.

DUBAI // A Dubai-based company is working with Kurdish officials in northern Iraq to send home the bodies of eight employees killed in a hotel fire. The staff of the geophysical research firm Terraseis were among 30 people killed in the blaze at Soma Hotel in Sulaimaniyah on Thursday. The company has notified the families and is arranging clearance with the Kurdish regional government before repatriating the bodies.

"This is a great blow to each of us, as all of us knew these individuals," said Kevin Plintz, the Terraseis chairman. "The response to this tragedy has been swift and we are in close contact with the families concerned." The victims included Febrianto Kwantoso from Indonesia, Scott Brayman from Canada, Filiberto Rincon from Venezuela, Adriaan Myburgh from South Africa, Ivan Jumbo from Ecuador, Trevor Bilney from Australia, Roy Blair from the UK and Adel Cruz from Bolivia, the company said.

Most of the victims died from smoke inhalation, said Brig Yadgar Mohammed Mustafa, the Sulaimaniyah fire chief. The five-storey building lacked fire escapes and witnesses said some guests jumped from the structure including, apparently, one Terraseis employee, who is in hospital in critical condition. Nine company employees who were staying at the hotel survived and have recovered. The establishment had served as temporary housing until a camp at the firm's project site was completed. It is due to be ready next week, the company said.

The Terraseis staff in Sulaimaniyah work in seismic information or logistics. None of the dead or the injured was based in Dubai. @Email:newsdesk@thenational.ae