Karnataka

Five bodies recovered from blast site; one more is suspected to have died

The blast site at Hunsodu near Shivamogga on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Prakash Hassan

Bodies of five labourers were recovered from a stone quarry at Hunasodu on the outskirts of Shivamogga city, where there was a high-intensity blast late on Thursday night. One more person is suspected to have died in the incident.

A truck carrying explosives was blown to pieces, killing all the five workers at the site. What triggered the blast is not yet known, say officials. The intensity of the blast resulted in tremors being felt in a radius of several kilometres from the site. A high-level inquiry has been ordered into the incident and three persons have been taken into custody.

S. Ravi, Inspector-General of Police, Eastern Range, said one more skull and back portion of a body had been found. “It is yet to be ascertained if it is another person,” he said, adding that the magnitude of the tragedy could have been worse if 14 others workers had not gone out for dinner at the time of the blast.

Two of the five dead have been identified as Praveen and Manjunath, residents of Antaragange in Bhadravati taluk. The rest are said to be from a neighbouring State. Mr. Ravi said that the process of identifying the bodies was tough, given their condition.

The intensity of the blast was so high that window panes of several houses were broken in Shivamogga city and many electronic gadgets were damaged. A few structures, including Shivamogga Institute of Medical Sciences, suffered minor damage. The tremors were initially thought to be caused by a minor quake. Parts of the truck that carried the explosive were found as far as 800 metres away from the site of the blast.

While two bodies were retrieved in the night, on Friday morning, two bomb squads (from Bengaluru and Mangaluru) traced three more bodies. Sources said that some bodies were beyond recognition given the intensity of the blast.

Shivamogga Deputy Commissioner K.B. Shivakumar told the media that the retrieved bodies had been sent for post-mortem. “An expert team is collecting data on the explosives. Preliminary investigation suggests that it was a gel-like explosive. Further details would be known after completion of the investigation,” he said.

The incident occurred in a licensed stone crusher located in a “safe zone”, the Deputy Commissioner said. The land belonged to one Avinash Kulkarni and he had given five acres of land on lease to one Sudhakar, who was conducting the mining in the quarry.

Compensation

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has announced a relief of ₹5 lakh each to the affected families. The families of the workers from the neighbouring village have demanded compensation of ₹50 lakh each.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi were among those who tweeted condoling the death of workers. Minister for Mines and Geology Murugesh Nirani and RDPR Minister K.S. Eshwarappa visited the spot.

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 12:13:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/five-bodies-recovered-from-blast-site-one-more-is-suspected-to-have-died/article33638305.ece

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