Staff Reporter

Accident site continues to be panic-stricken

KOLLAM: Operations to transfer liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from a leaking tank here to another tanker lorry came under the direct supervision of the Controller of Explosives on Wednesday morning.

The tank got dislodged from a moving lorry and went crashing on Tuesday evening on National Highway 47 at Nellimukku. In the impact, a gauge got damaged and LPG began leaking from the tank, which contained 18.5 tonnes of the gas. The leak was later plugged with a wooden wedge. The site of the accident has been cordoned off since Tuesday evening and traffic through the National Highway through that point continued to be diverted even on Wednesday night. Efforts on Tuesday night to transfer the gas from the leaking tank to another tanker lorry did not succeed.

Following this, Controller of Explosives R. Venugopal, who rushed to the site on Tuesday night, ordered that an emergency rescue van of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. be brought to the site from Coimbatore. The van is equipped with the required gadgets to create the pressure needed to transfer the LPG from the tank.

The van arrived at the site by 10 a.m. and the operations under the supervision of the Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives G.M. Reddy and Mr. Venugopal began immediately afterwards using a compressor. Three tanker lorries are needed for the purpose. Technical staff from Kerala Mineral and Metals Ltd., the police, the corporation staff and others from various Government departments carried out the operation.

Mr. Venugopal said two tanker lorries were used to collect LPG and one to collect the vapour that remained inside. By 8 p.m., the liquid LPG was fully transferred and only the vapour remained. Meanwhile, the whole area of the accident remained panic stricken even on Wednesday. Residents in the area were asked not to cook anything or light any fire. They were also directed not to use mobile phones. Shops hotels and even a bank functioning in the area had to remain closed since the whole area was cordoned off. Power supply to the area also remained switched off on Wednesday too.