At least 18 coronavirus patients died after a fire broke out at a hospital in Gujarat's Bharuch in the early hours on Saturday.
Gut-wrenching visuals of the tragedy showed remains of some patients burnt alive on stretchers and beds.
There were around 50 other patients at the four-storeyed Welfare Hospital when the fire broke out in the COVID-19 ward at 1 am. They were rescued by locals and firefighters, an official said.
"As per information at 6.30 am, the death toll in the tragedy stood at 18. Immediately after the fire, we had confirmation of 12 deaths," a police official told PTI.
The 12 patients in the COVID-19 ward died due to the fire and resultant smoke, Bharuch SP Rajendrasinh Chudasama said.
It is not clear if the remaining six also died in the Welfare hospital or while being shifted to other hospitals.
The COVID-19 designated hospital is situated on the Bharuch-Jambusar highway, around 190 km from the state capital Ahmedabad and is being run by a trust.
The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, the official said.
The fire was controlled within an hour and around 50 patients were rescued by locals as well as firefighters, a fire official said. They were shifted to nearby hospitals, he added.
Meanwhile, Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani mourned the deaths and said, "I express my condolences to the patients, doctors and hospital staff who lost their lives in the fire accident at Bharuch Hospital. The state government will provide assistance of Rs 4 lakh to the families of each of the victims of the accident."
PM Modi also paid condolences and wrote, "Pained by the loss of lives due to a fire at a hospital in Bharuch. Condolences to the bereaved families."
(With inputs from PTI)