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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 February, 2005, 22:06 GMT
Gas leak at Spain hostel kills 18
Hostel in Todolella
Two guests survived by sleeping in another room
Eighteen people have been found dead at a mountain hostel in eastern Spain after inhaling gas.

The gas is thought to have leaked from a heating canister overnight, poisoning the guests as they slept after a birthday celebration.

It happened at a hostel in the hamlet of Todolella in Castellon province. There were two survivors.

Reports said the guests, whose bodies were found on Sunday afternoon, had rented the hostel for the weekend.

They were part of a group of about 50 people aged between 20 and 40 from local villages who had gathered for the party.

'State of shock'

Most party-goers had travelled home after the celebrations.

Of those who stayed, all but two, who stayed in a separate room, died.

The victims' bodies were found by hostel staff at about 1630 (1530 GMT).

The local mayor said the hamlet of about 140 residents was in a state of shock.

Regional official, Alicia de Miguel, said: "We are all devastated. It's terrible."

Television pictures showed distraught families arriving at a nearby sports centre after reports said that bodies might be taken there.

They would then be taken to the nearby coastal city of Castellon for autopsies.

Regional president of Valencia, Francisco Camps, travelled to the scene of the accident and said counsellors would be provided for the bereaved.

The Sant Cristofol hostel is in a mountainous region and is popular with cyclists and hikers. The building dates back to the 15th Century.

hostel deaths: The scene outside the hostel


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