All the victims were from Mayurbhanj district

CUTTACK: At least three construction workers were killed and another was critically injured when tons of soil fell over them while they were engaged in digging a pit for laying the foundation of pillar of a bridge in Mahidharpada-Gobindpur area under Cuttack Sadar police station, about 40 km from here on Sunday afternoon.

“All the four labourers were inside the pit that was over 20 ft deep and 30 ft diameter when the landslide occurred around 4.30 pm. While one of them managed to escape with much difficulty, others were trapped inside”, said the local police inspector Ranjit Prusty.

The deceased were identified as Tutu Besra (32), Sahadev Besra (20) and Lingaraj Murmu (40), police said, adding all of them were from Mayurbhanj district. The bodies were retrieved after all the soil over them was removed by some local people some 20 minutes after the mishap.

“The deceased were trapped under the soil for nearly 20 minutes and they died of asphyxiation,” Mr Prusty said.

Following the mishap, tension prevailed at the area as some irate villagers demanded stringent action against the works contractor who had not taken adequate safety measures before digging such a big pit.

Police assured the villagers that the contractor would be taken to task. The bodies were sent to SCB medical college and hospital for postmortem while the injured was also admitted in the hospital, police added.