A fire has swept through a jail in Honduras, killing at least 272 prisoners, officials say.
"This is a preliminary report," local forensic services head Lucy Marder told Reuters, indicating that the number could rise.
Some prisoners escaped the blaze at the jail in Comayagua by breaking through the roof to jump from the building, their relatives said.
Officials are examining whether an electrical fault caused the blaze.
The fire broke out late on Tuesday night and took more than an hour to be brought under control.
Dozens of prisoners died trapped in their cells and were burned beyond recognition.
Comayagua firefighters' spokesman Josue Garcia said there were "hellish" scenes at the prison.
"The situation is serious. Most have suffocated," the head of the country's prison system, Daniel Orellana, told the AFP news agency, when the number of victims stood at 200.
Riot or short-circuit?
Ms Marder, who heads the forensic services in Comayagua, subsequently said reports indicated at least 272 people had been killed.
The prison in Comayagua, some 100km (60 miles) north of the capital, Tegucigalpa, was holding more than 800 inmates.
It was feared many of them had fled in the chaos, officials said.
Local hospitals are treating dozens of people for burns and other injuries.
Some of the injured have been taken to Tegucigalpa for treatment, among them 30 people with severe burns.
Hector Ivan Mejia, from the government's security secretariat, told reporters that it appeared an electrical short-circuit had caused the fire.
But Honduras media also carried reports that there had been a riot in the prison before the fire broke out.