“Sitting here watching the Taj burn down”
Reuters Editor, South Asia, Phil Smith is reporting from outside the landmark Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, where Western hostages are being held.
“The scene at the famous gate of India is chaos, with dozens of army, police and fire trucks struggling to control a situation which began in the late evening on Wednesday. Searchlights illuminate the front of the Taj hotel, as up to five gunmen hold hundreds of hotel guests hostage. There have been several explosions from inside the hotel and earlier, grenades were thrown from windows and exploded in the street.
“At around 3 a.m., a large explosion set fire to the top part of the building, and fires are still burning on the upper floors.
“There have been rescue attempts by firefighters with hotel guests plucked from lower floor front windows by ladder and hydraulic lift. As they fled the scene, they told how they barricaded themselves in their rooms after hearing explosions and automatic fire in the hotel. There are similar scenes across the peninsula at the Trident hotel where another siege is going one.
“As dawn approaches, the fate of the remaining hostages is still unclear.”
To listen to Phil’s audio account click here.