Sources said that many people died after jumping from the third and fourth floors of the six-storey building to escape fire caused by blast. Among the dead were women, children, security guards and foreign guests. Police said several people were feared trapped in the hotel building which turned out into an inferno. A Danish diplomat and three American nationals were among the injured, officials said.
As per the official report this is one of the most powerful bomb blasts witnessed by Islamabad. Many of the injured were struck by debris within the hotel, sustaining broken limbs and other serious injuries. Rescue workers rushed people out of the hotel, most of which was evacuated before the fire swept through all its floors.
The impact of the blast was such that the Marriott's lobby and reception, located almost 100 feet from the site where the suspected suicide bomber blew himself up, was completely destroyed.
Anti-Terrorist Squad Commandos and the police cordoned off the roads leading to the hotel as investigators scoured the site for clues. Fire fighters tried in vain to extinguish the blaze but were unable to prevent it from spreading rapidly.
Hours before the blast occured the President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari, making his first address to parliament, several hundred metres to the east of the hotel, said terrorism had to be rooted out.
Fire began in at least two places in the building and spread to other parts of the 290-room hotel, located at the foot of the Margalla hills in the city centre. There was a large crater in the road by the hotel's heavy security barriers.
Marriott hotel, popular with foreigners, has been bombed twice before but the Saturday, Sep 20 evening blast was the most serious in the Pakistani capital since the country joined the US-led 'war on terror' in late 2001.