The massive explosion took place near a gravels and boulders crushing facility around 10.30 pm, sending shockwaves not only in Shivamogga, but also in neighbouring Chikkamagaluru and Davangere districts
At least six persons were killed in an explosion at a stone quarry near Abbalagere on the outskirts of Shivamogga city in Karnataka on Thursday night. The toll is expected to go up as bodies are yet to be retrieved from the site.
It is said that gelatin sticks exploded, killing the quarry workers from Bihar at the spot.
Ashok Naik, Shivamogga Rural MLA, said gelatin sticks in a truck exploded. “The cause of the explosion is not known. Senior officers have reached the spot. We have to wait for some more time to get more information,” he said.
The tremors caused by the blast was earlier mistaken to have been caused by an earthquake. This had led to some locals in nearby areas rushing out of their homes in the night. However, Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre later clarified that there was no recorded seismic activity.
Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa said in a tweet that a high level investigation had been ordered and culprits will be brought to book.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi too took to Twitter to condole the loss of lives in the accident. “Pained by the loss of lives in Shivamogga. Condolences to the bereaved families. Praying that the injured recover soon. The State Government is providing all possible assistance to the affected,” he wrote.
Two bodies retrieved
Two bodies have been retrieved from the stone crusher unit near Shivamogga, where an explosion occurred late in the evening on Thursday.
Shivamogga District Collector K.B. Shiva Kumar told The Hindu: “Two bodies have been retrieved from the site. The reports suggesting death of more people is not substantiated by facts. The exact number would be known, once the technical team visits the place and clears it.”
“A technical team from Bengaluru is reaching the spot”, he said.
The incident happened in a licensed crushing unit, located in the safe zone. “The technical team would analyse the site and arrive at a conclusion on the material that exploded. Based on their assessment, we will proceed furtherm” Mr. Shiva Kumar said.
The massive blast left the residents of Shivamogga in a shock on Thursday night. The residents heard huge sound and experienced tremors.
“I was walking near my home after my dinner, when we heard huge noise. The crusher site is about half a kilometre from our place. We noticed thick flame, followed by clouds of dust all over the place,” said Rajendra Buradikatti, who lives nearby.
The police have cordoned off the area. The district administration is expecting the technical team to reach the spot.
Following reports in a section of the media about the quary belonged an agency that supplied ballast to the Railways, South Western Railway has clarified that the Railways were presently not obtaining ballast from any source in the area .