Cause yet to be ascertained

A major explosion, which occurred at a cracker cottage unit at Mukkani village of Srivaikuntam taluk in Tuticorin District around 6 p.m. on Monday, claimed five lives.

The cause of explosion at the licensed cracker-making unit is yet to be ascertained. Five bodies have been recovered from the debris. Since the incident occurred late in the evening in the interior part of Mukkani, the fire brigade could not trace the bodies immediately.

Fire service and rescue personnel were engaged in searching one more body at the site. One of the bodies was found 100m away. The relatives of the dead rushed to the spot and identified them. The rescue personnel from Tuticorin Thermal Power Station and DCW Limited, Sahupuram also stepped up efforts in finding bodies from rubbles of three rooms meant for production and stock point of finished goods on the site.

Collector C.N. Maheswaran, Sub Collector Sajjan Singh R. Chawan, Superintendent of Police, K.A. Senthil Velan and Tasildar of Srivaikuntam arrived at the scene and held enquiries with the residents nearby.

The victims were identified as A. Chitravel (55) of Sivakalai, M. Murugan (50) of Pazhayakayal, M. Chellappa (52) of Mukkani, Azhwar (52) of Mukkani and Esakiammal (48) of Mukkani. People said that a loud noise was heard even five kilometres away.