Acetylene leak led to blast at shipyard, finds initial probe

Further investigation needed to ascertain cause of the leak, says police

Updated - February 15, 2018 06:59 pm IST

Published - February 14, 2018 10:17 pm IST - KOCHI

 Taking stock: Pon Radhakrishnan, Union Minister of State for Shipping, visiting the Cochin Shipyard, on Wednesday.

Taking stock: Pon Radhakrishnan, Union Minister of State for Shipping, visiting the Cochin Shipyard, on Wednesday.

A preliminary investigation by the police into the blast on board a driller ship at the Cochin Shipyard on Wednesday attributed the accident to gas leakage.

P.P. Shams, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Thrikkakara, and a team of experts from the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Thiruvananthapuram, on Wednesday visited the accident site and collected evidence. “Preliminary investigations pointed to leakage of acetylene leading to the blast, but further investigation is required to ascertain how the leakage occurred and whether it was a case of human error or not,” he said.

The ACP is slated to complete the investigation in the next couple of days and a detailed report on the accident will be submitted before the additional chief judicial magistrate court, Ernakulam. According to the official, the report will also incorporate findings of the FSL team.

Case of unnatural death

The police have registered a case of unnatural death in connection with the blast, in which five persons were killed.

Meanwhile, official sources pointed to a delay by the Cochin Shipyard Limited in reporting the incident to the police. “The department was alerted about the accident only around 10.30 a.m, about an hour after the accident, when the victims were taken to the hospital,” they said. Fire and rescue department officials also maintained that they had come to know about the blast from TV news channels. ``By the time, we reached the spot, the rescue operations were already over and the casualties were taken out. However, a report soon be submitted to the Director General based on an independent evaluation of the various factors and the damages sustained,’’ said Dileepan, Divisional Fire Officer, Ernakulam.

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