Madurai

Stone quarry mishap: Body of third person retrieved

A huge boulder lying on the body of the fifth victim of stone quarry accident at Adaimithippankulam in Tirunelveli district being blasted through controlled explosion on Wednesday.

A huge boulder lying on the body of the fifth victim of stone quarry accident at Adaimithippankulam in Tirunelveli district being blasted through controlled explosion on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Nearly 66 hours after the tragic accident in a private stone quarry at Adaimithippankulam in Tirunelveli district, NDRF and the Fire and Rescue Services personnel retrieved the body of lorry driver M. Selvakumar, 30, of Kakkaikulam near Nanguneri on Wednesday evening.

His body was spotted on Tuesday but could not be retrieved immediately. Already two persons had died in the accident and two were rescued. Efforts are on to locate one more person, P. Rajendran, 35, of Oordaiyankudiyiruppu, who has been trapped in the 300-foot-deep quarry.

NDRF and Fire and Rescue Services personnel, who located Selvakumar’s body on Tuesday, continued their efforts after removing smaller stones to retrieve his body from beneath a huge rock. Since the crane, weighing about several tonnes, could not be stationed near the quarry with loose soil to lift the boulder, the work had to be done manually.

However, they were forced to call off their work around 11.15 p.m. on Tuesday as the boulder could not be moved. When the operation resumed on Wednesday morning, drizzle blocked their efforts, and the rescuers could resume the work only after 11 a.m. It was decided to employ controlled explosion to blast the boulder into smaller stones in order to extricate the body.

“Since removal of this boulder through controlled explosion may also lead to the retrieval of the last and the sixth victim, we decided to go for this last strategy,” an official said.

The families of Rajendran and Selvakumar were explained about the difficulty the rescuers were facing, and the last option of controlled explosion was resorted to with their consent.

After drilling the huge boulder from the top, the rescuers packed 130 grams of explosives and blasted the rock at 3.20 p.m. As the careful removal of smaller pieces of the blasted boulder took nearly three hours, the body of the fifth victim was retrieved at 6.40 p.m. and subsequently identified by the family of Selvakumar before being taken to Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital for a post-mortem.

Bank account frozen

Meanwhile, the police froze the bank account of Venkateshwara Stone Crusher Unit with more than ₹1 crore even as quarry operator ‘Chamber’ Selvaraj of Thisaiyanvilai and his son Kumar are absconding. Based on the request from Investigation Officer of this case Rajath Chaturvedi, ASP, Nanguneri, the account was frozen, the police sources said.


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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 5:49:48 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/stone-quarry-mishap-body-of-third-person-retrieved/article65426800.ece