Six persons were killed on the spot and four injured when a bullet tanker carrying liquefied petroleum gas overturned and the gas leaking from it caught fire at Perne on Mangalore-Bangalore National Highway, 47 km from here on Tuesday around 10 a.m.
Two other vehicles in the scene of accident also caught fire but its inmates managed to escape unhurt. At least five houses, a garage, two shops most of them with tiled roofs collapsed and the most articles in them were burnt.
Those killed included the driver of the tanker, their neighbour, and two persons of a family residing in a building close by, an anganwadi teacher and a child. Many others who managed to run far away from the scene, escaped unhurt.
The accident occurred when the tanker driver lost control over the wheels while negotiating a sharp bend. While the gas from the tanker leaked and caught fire, three LPG cylinders kept in a godown nearby also exploded due to the heat generated, a fire officer said.
Shobha Rai, who was washing clothes in her house and her son Chitresh were charred to death and the roof of their house had collapsed by the time the fire services personnel could reach the spot. Their neighbour, Guruvappa, was also charred to death. The Anganwadi teacher Vanitha and child Sunil, who were passing by were also charred to death. The charred body of the driver was found in the driving cabin. The driver did not have an assistant.
By the time fire services could reach the spot much of the damaged had been caused. “It was all over in a matter of 10 minutes,” said Varadarajan, Chief Fire Officer, Mangalore Region.