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Blast at Pune missile facility

A high-intensity blast was reported in the premises of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Pashan, Pune, reports Presley Thomas.

india Updated: Oct 01, 2009 01:55 IST
Presley Thomas

A high-intensity blast was reported in the premises of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Pashan, Pune, on Wednesday. The blast, which took place inside the High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), blew the roof of the building.

The injured lab staff was taken to a hospital nearby, DRDO and army spokespersons said, but they did not reveal the number of people injured. The building was evacuated immediately.

R.K. Pandey, joint director of HEMRL, confirmed the blast, but denied that any employees were injured. Sources said two ambulances were seen speeding out of the complex.

Locals said the blast was so loud it was heard five to six kilometres away from the site.

HEMRL is the only laboratory in India where research and development work is conducted on the entire range of high-energy materials used for gun and rocket propellants and high explosives.

“An experimental propellant composition was being tested in the mixture room when the blast happened. All safety norms required to be taken were in place, including the absence of any HEMRL official within the mixture room,” said HEMRL spokesperson Mohan Bhardwaj.

Pandey said the building was designed to withstand such blasts. “The HEMRL director has constituted a standing committee to investigate the reasons behind the accident. The report is expected to be submitted in two days,” he added.