Police are looking for individuals in relation to the fireworks accident at the Puttingal temple in the city of Kollam. It was revealed that temple authorities did not have permission for the fireworks celebration.
Police detained five workers for questioning about fireworks stored at the site, seeking information about who owned the fireworks and who had contracted the pyrotechnical display, police constable R. Unnikrishnan Nair said. The five were released, although Nair declined to say whether they were able to help authorities track down any of the 15 temple board members who fled after the accident.
The Press Trust of India news agency stated that police were investigating six people – believed to be missing temple board members and associates of firework contractors – for possible charges of attempted murder and culpable homicide.
An eyewitness told CNN: "I thought there was an earthquake and hid under the bed," she said. "When I came out, there was no electricity. People were running everywhere, and burnt bodies were on the ground. The smell was really bad."
The tragedy left at least 110 dead and over 380 people injured. While the majority of those killed have been identified, there are at least 11 unknown victims charred beyond recognition. Some of those killed died from burns; others died from suffocation or from the crush of collapsed buildings. Those injured and hospitalised will receive free treatment, said Oommen Chandy, chief minister of Kerala state.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Kollam District Hospital on Sunday evening, meeting injured victims and family members. He called the fire "heart-rending and shocking beyond words."
The families of those killed will get about $3,000 in "ex-gratia relief" and injured people will receive 50,000 rupees ($751) in compensation.
Prince William, who is on a 10-day tour of India and Bhutan with his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, offered his sympathies at a gala dinner in Mumbai. "Catherine and I would like to offer our condolences to all those affected by the terrible fire at the temple in Kollam," he said.
"I know all of you in this room will join us in the sentiments."