Screams of horror as deadly fire rips through theme park killing 13 people

Fun turned to horror as a killer blaze tore through a theme park leaving more than a dozen dead on the first day of a Chinese national holiday.

Visitors ran for their lives as flames engulfed an exhibition hall of ice lantern and snow sculptures at the Taitaishan theme park on the near Taiyuan city in Shanxi province.

Tragedy struck yesterday as thousands of tourists were in the area for the beginning of the eight-day Golden Week holiday.

Thick smoke was seen billowing from the area as fire crews and ambulances rushed to save people. Another 15 victims were injured and rushed to hospitals, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Footage showed visitors moving away from the black plumes and another clip captures screams.

Golden Week was started by the Chinese government in 2000 to encourage more tourism in the country. It allows people to have seven or eight days of continuous holiday so people can make longer trips to see family or go on holiday.

Taitaishan is a huge tourist attraction and boasts several museums, rides and many shops and cafes.

The Work Safety Committee of the State Council, a national-level organization, has launched a probe into the cause of the fire, the Ministry of Emergency Management said.

It comes after Australia's biggest theme park was fined $3.6 million (£2 million) over the horrific deaths of four customers on a ride.

Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Roozbeh Araghi and Cindy Low were all killed in October 2016 while riding the Thunder River Rapids Ride at Dreamworld in Queensland.

The four adults died almost instantly when their raft collided with another and overturned, crushing its passengers on a conveyor belt in shallow water.

Workplace Health and Safety prosecutor Aaron Guilfoyle told Southport court on Monday the raft was lifted vertically before it dropped into a horizontal position.

Ms Low's aunt told her inquest: "That Cindy died violently is unacceptable to us.

"Knowing her death could have been avoided is unacceptable and infuriating."

Dreamworld shut down for six weeks after the accident and demolished the Thunder River Rapids Ride, which had not had a comprehensive safety risk for more than 30 years, a coroner found.

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