Businessman, two labourers asphyxiated in Cubbonpet

A businessman and two labourers apparently choked to death when they attempted to clean an open well at a dyeing firm in Cubbonpet here on Tuesday.

Gangaraju, 35, the owner, hired two labourers to clean the well at around 11.45 a.m. The first labourer went in and did not come out. The second followed and he too did not surface. Worried, Mr. Gangaraju went down the 30-foot well to investigate. He too met the same fate, his brother Shyam Sundar told the Ulsoor Gate police.

Police officials, after inspecting the spot, said all three died due to asphyxiation.

Names not known

Three labourers from Andhra Pradesh, whose names are not yet known, accompanied Mr. Gangaraju to the dyeing unit at around 10 a.m. The attempt to clean the well commenced soon after. When his two colleagues did not emerge, the third labourer turned around and fled.

“When the two labourers did not respond to his calls, Mr. Gangaraju panicked and went down the well,” said a police official, based on Mr. Sundar's complaint and evidence on the spot.

When Mr. Gangaraju too failed to come up from the depths of the well, neighbours, sensing something amiss, called the police, fire and emergency services departments. Firemen lifted the bodies with the help of ropes.

According to them, poisonous gas was emanating from the well.

Old wells

Most buildings in Cubbonpet, constructed several years ago, have wells on their property. They were crucial as a water source but in recent years were considered unsafe due to poor maintenance, Thimmappa Bhat, a local resident, told The Hindu.

Fifteen years ago a labourer died of asphyxiation in a well near Mr. Gangaraju's colouring unit, he said.

In the last two years, house owners had started to rejuvenate the water bodies. Specialised well cleaners from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh used to visit Cubbonpet, looking for work, he added.

Keywords: Asphyxiation