The number of casualties in the LPG tanker tragedy at Chala near here on August 27 rose to 11 with three more people admitted to hospitals with critical burns succumbing to their injuries on Friday.

The deceased have been identified as K.K. Krishnan (75), his wife Devi (59) and Niha Rajan (19). While the elderly couple died at the Pariyaram Medical College Hospital (PMCH), the latter breathed her last at a private hospital in Mangalore. The couples who had died of burns following the mishap were Lakshmanan (68) of R.P. House at Chala, his wife Nirmala (55), Ramlath (48) of Ramlath House and husband Abdul Razakh (58).

Chala located six kms from Kannur has been mourning the deaths of local residents whose houses were engulfed by fire following the explosion of the LPG bullet tanker lorry from Mangalore to Chelari in Kozhikode near the Chala bypass between Kannur and Thalassery late night on August 27. The traumatised people of the area devastated by the inferno caused by the leakage of the LPG from the tanker after the vehicle hit the road median are not expected to recover from their ordeal any time sooner. At least 10 more injured are battling for life in various hospitals.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy visited Chala on Friday evening to console the bereaved families of the deceased and to join the mourning. It was his second visit after the tragedy occurred. Mr. Chandy had visited the area and hospitals where the injured had been admitted on August 28. He had then announced solatium of Rs. 10 lakh for the families of the deceased and upto Rs. 5 lakh for the injured.

Officials here said that he would hold a meeting of officials here at around 7 p.m. to review the situation in the aftermath of the tragedy.

In another development, the driver of the LPG tanker lorry, Kannayyan of Salem in Tamil Nadu, surrendered before the police here on Friday morning. He surrendered before the police even as a police team from here was camping at Salem for nabbing the driver who had escaped immediately after the accident. The police would soon question the driver as part of the investigation that was under way into the mishap.

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