A tanker lorry carrying Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) overturned on a goods autorickshaw, killing its driver on the spot, on the mini-bypass road at West Hill Chungam in the city on Saturday. The accident occurred around 3.15 p.m.
The deceased was identified as Uppukandathil Ravi, 40, a native of Thadangattuvayal, near West Hill. Eyewitnesses said the driver was unloading bamboo poles in front of a shop when the lorry fell on him. His body was taken to the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital.
Soon after the incident, local people were asked to vacate their houses and switch off electricity connections. Officials from the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) disconnected power supply to the region. Though there was mild LPG leakage, the Fire and Rescue Services personnel sprayed water to cool the tanker, thus avoiding chances of explosion.
Fire officials said the LPG leakage had been contained for the time being.
Nearly two kilometres of the mini bypass road were blocked by the police to prevent entry of vehicles and pedestrians to the accident spot. District Collector C.A. Latha and senior police officers came to the spot to coordinate rescue activities.
People’s representatives also rushed to the spot as most of them were in and around West Hill for the Lok Sabha election campaigning. Former Industries Minister Elamaram Karim and former Mayor M. Bhaskaran alleged that the Fire and Rescue Service personnel were ill-equipped to face such mishaps. Some residents complained that a few dangerous curves on the mini bypass road were unattended to by the Public Works Department despite many complaints. “It is sheer luck that tanker lorries safely pass through this shortcut to the main bypass,” they shared.
Meantime, the police took into custody the tanker lorry driver Nithyanandam and his aide Muthukumar who escaped unhurt. The police said the lorry had Karnataka registration and was on its way from Mangalore to Coimbatore. The LPG in the tank would be moved to another tanker with the support of Indian Oil Corporation technicians from the Chelari plant, they added.