Foreign expert reaches Visakhapatnam

Experts from AP Forensic Science Laboratory, Hyderabad and a refinery specialist from UK arrived in the city to probe into the blast at the HPCL Refinery here even as the toll in the accident mounted to 11 with the death of two more people on Tuesday.

While undergoing treatment at Old Care Hospital, M. Thota Rao, 44, and K. Shankara Rao, 40, both contract workers, succumbed to the burns. One of the 11 who died was a senior executive of HPCL.

In another development, four patients along with their attendants were airlifted to Mumbai for treatment at the National Burns Centre.

Earlier, four patients were airlifted. One of the patients was discharged on Monday. As of now, 26 patients are undergoing treatment in various hospitals.

HPCL has brought four expert doctors from Mumbai for assistance and deployed its officers on duty at various hospitals to provide required support to the relatives of the injured.

Ian Thorpe, a Britisher working at a senior position in HPCL-Mittal Energy Limited, arrived in the city. APFSL experts also visited the blast site where the cooling tower collapsed following heavy surge of hydrocarbons and collected samples from the debris for analysis.

HPCL Director (Refineries) B.K. Namdeo and Executive Director V.V.R. Narasimham told reporters that Mr. Thorpe would review the safety system and submit a report.

They said that the company was providing all possible support to the injured for their quick recovery.

The refinery, which was processing crude at the rate of 27,000 tonne per day before the blast, had now curtailed it to 17,000 to 18,000 tonne per day after the incident.

“Once we are satisfied with the entire gamut of safety mechanism, we will resume normal production,” Mr. Namdeo said.

Stating that there was no confusion about the number of injured persons, he said the initial confusion was due to non-furnishing of information by the contractors involved in the cooling tower project on how many were deployed in that location by them.

The condition of seven patients who received over 60 per cent burns was being monitored by the experts brought by HPCL from Mumbai. Mr. Namdeo said the debris clearance work was still on.