It is not yet known how many inamtes died in the fire (Reuters)
Final death toll from prison fire yet to be established  (Reuters)

A fire has swept through a prison in Honduras, killing hundreds and leaving many more injured, officials said.

Officials have confirmed that 300 people were killed in the fire that began late on Tuesday night, but a further 56 inmates, out of the 853 in the prison, are missing and presumed dead.

The head of the national prison system, Danilo Orellana, said the fire broke out at a prison in the town of Comayagua.

Officials are investigating the cause of the blaze. Two theories are that it was triggered by rioting prisoners or by an electrical short-circuit, Orellana said.

The facility held at least 800 inmates and is located 140 kilometers (90 miles) north of the Central American country's capital, Tegucigalpa.

It is feared that many inmates escaped during the fire, said Hector Ivan Mejia, spokesman for the government's security secretariat.

Some survivors escaped the blaze by breaking through the roof and jumping from the building, according to the BBC.

Radio reports from Comayagua said dozens of prisoners were burned beyond recognition as they were trapped in their cells and that the prison was destroyed by the flames.