At least six persons were killed late on Thursday night when a lorry carrying explosives inadvertently exploded, district authorities in Karantaka’s Shivamogga confirmed. The tragic incident took place around 10 km from the town centre. The explosives were being taken to a quarrying site. More are feared to be dead as around 12 persons were on the truck at the time of the accident. The intensity of the blast reduced the truck to several pieces and the victim’s bodies are beyond recognition, officials said.
After news broke, both the Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police rushed to the spot to oversee rescue and relief operations. KB Ashoka, MLA of Shimoga Rural also rushed to the spot to oversee relief operations. According to reports, the blasts took place at around 10:30 pm on Thursday night. The intensity was so much that residents from surrounding areas as far as parts of neighboring districts such as Chikkamagaluru and Uttara Kannada also heard the blast.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa have reacted over the tragedy. The official Twitter handle of the Prime Minister quoted Modi saying, “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.”
CM Yediyurappa said, “I wish to express my deepest condolences to the family of the deceased. The wounded are being treated and I wish them all a speedy recovery. A high-level investigation into the accident has been ordered and strict action against the guilty will be taken.”
He added that he is keeping a close eye in the rescue operations and sufficient teams have been dispatched to the accident site.
Visuals had surfaced on Thursday night itself showing people living in Bhadravathi town coming out from their houses fearing this was an earthquake due to the blast. Many window panes were shattered with some roads getting cracks.
However, officials at the Karnataka State Disaster Monitoring Centre dismissed such a possibility.
Manoj Rajan, Special Commissioner for Disaster Management, said, “Data from the nearby seismic stations at Udupi and Mangaluru have been collected and there was no seismic activity recorded. Also, information was sought from the National Centre for Seismology, New Delhi and no seismic activity was reported by them too.”
“The reason might be that the activity felt is from a very shallow depth, possibly less than 5 kms and also the magnitude on the Richter scale is less than 1.0, unable to be recorded by any seismometer,” he had added.