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Bride and groom 'numb' after Iraq wedding blaze killed more than 100 guests
30 September 2023, 16:45 | Updated: 30 September 2023, 18:58
The bride and groom whose Iraq wedding was marred by an inferno which saw more than 100 people lose their lives have spoken out following the tragedy.
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The newlyweds have said they are "dead inside" following the tragedy, which at least 150 others, after a fire broke out at the couple's reception.
Burning debris could be seen falling from the sky during the couple's first dance, which broke out inside the main wedding hall in Qaraqosh, northern Iraq.
Revan, 27, and bride Haneen, 18, both survived the blaze, with more than 100 of their guests surviving after escaping through the kitchen door.
Haneen and Revan were initially feared dead following the blaze, which claimed the lives of 114 others.
Revan's father later confirmed the couple had survived the blaze, which tore through the large hall in the Christian town, which had survived ISIS occupation.
"It's true that we're sitting here in front of you alive. But inside we are dead. We are numb. We are dead inside," Revan told Sky News.
The horror inferno claimed the lives of 15 members of Revan's family, with the groom adding that his bride "can't speak" following the loss of 10 of her own relatives.
There are understood to have been around 900 guests at the wedding when the fire broke out at around 10.45pm on Tuesday night.
Moments before the disaster which claimed the lives of over 100 guests at a wedding party in Nineveh's Hamdaniya district.— Rudaw English (@RudawEnglish) September 27, 2023
🎥: Submitted pic.twitter.com/IbNOMNIh4i
"It could be a short-circuit, I don't know. But the fire started in the ceiling. We felt the heat… When I heard the crackling I looked at the ceiling," he said.
Adding: "Then the ceiling, which was all nylon, started to melt. It only took seconds."
The town of Qaraqosh, near Mosul, in Northern Iraq, is now said to be in mourning following the horror.
Revan added that guests began to "scream" and "run away" after sections of blazing material began to fall from the ceiling.
"I grabbed my wife and I began to drag her," he said.
"I kept dragging her and trying to get her out of the kitchen entrance. As people were fleeing, people were trampling on her," Revan continued.
Adding: "Her legs are injured."
Revan said there was only one fire extinguisher at the venue, which "didn't work" according to the groom.
Phone footage shows the guests sitting calmly at dinner tables as music plays, while the flames lap up at a large chandelier behind them.
Suddenly the chandelier catches fire, and the blaze is thought to have spread quickly after that.
The couple has added that the disaster means they are no longer able to live in their hometown.
"That's it, we can't live here anymore," Revan said.
'We can't live here anymore. I mean every time we try to have some happiness, something tragic happens to us and destroys the happiness.
"So, it's best for us to leave," he added.
Heartbreaking footage which emerged following the blaze shows the aftermath of an inferno inside a wedding hall.
Charred debris is all that remains following the inferno, which although unconfirmed, is thought to have resulted from a firework display during the couple's first dance.