Madurai

Stone quarry accident: Controlled blast conducted to break rock to rescue last victim

As the lorry driven by stone quarry victim P. Rajendran has been located under a heap of stones, the rescuers, who conducted a controlled explosion on Friday to break the huge rock weighing more than 100 tonnes, firmly believe that they would reach him on Saturday after removing the stones.

 As 25-feet-tall huge rocks covering the 300-feet-deep quarry where Rajendran is supposed to be trapped had to be removed, the rocks were drilled since Friday morning at 32 spots to stuff gelatin for blasting the rocks, weighing more than 100 tonnes, in controlled fashion so as to reach him.

 Six explosives experts, including four Grade I Explosive Experts, were involved in the work after they checked the hardness of the rocks to be blasted in the controlled explosion. Of the four experts, three were from a private cement factory near here while the remaining one was a government Grade I Explosive Expert.

 As this work was completed around 2 p.m., the vehicles of the police, revenue and fire and rescue services department, journalists and the NDRF personnel, which had been parked near the entrance of the quarry, were moved 500 meters away from the site.

 After the controlled explosion triggered at 2.28 p.m., the NDRF and the Fire and Rescue Services personnel subsequently started removing the stones manually to reach the spot to rescue Rajendran.

 “Since the three earthmovers damaged in the Saturday night landslide are mangled, we tried to repair it with the help of authorised mechanics so that these heavy equipment can be used in the rescue operation. However, the machines, each costing about Rs. 90 lakh, could not be repaired, which has badly hit the ongoing work and we have to remove the stones manually,” said an official involved in the six-day-long operation.

 The removal of the stones after the controlled blast is likely to consume considerable time. When the removal of stones started on Friday, the rescuers located Rajendran’s lorry under the stones.

 “As the two rescued survivors – both earthmover operators - said that Rajendran would never leave the lorry when it was being loaded with stones, we believe he might have been trapped inside the mangled vehicle. If the blast conducted on Friday is not enough to reach Rajendran even after removing the stones, another round of controlled blast may be conducted tomorrow (Saturday),” a rescuer said.


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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 7:25:59 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/stone-quarry-accident-controlled-blast-conducted-to-break-rock-to-rescue-last-victim/article65439660.ece