Police inspect Shivamogga blast site, CM Yediyurappa orders high-level probe
Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa on Friday ordered a high-level investigation into the blast at a railway crusher site in Shivamogga district’s Hunasodu village. At least eight people are feared dead in the massive explosion that took place near a gravel and boulder crushing facility late on Thursday.
“It’s shocking and unfortunate news that many people have died in a massive disaster that occurred last night near the tornado of Shivamogga. I’m in contact with senior officials since late night, teams have already been dispatched to the required rescue operation,” Yediyurappa said in a tweet in Kannada.
“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 misdemeanour has been ordered and strict action against the guilty is certain,” the chief minister added.
Police and officials were seen inspecting the blast site in Hunasodu village this morning. Shivamogga lawmaker BY Raghavendra was also present at the spot, according to news agency ANI. "A loud sound was heard which was accompanied by a vibration near Hunasodu village in Shivamogga district. There was an explosion due to dynamite or explosive material. An investigation is on. A bomb squad is coming from Bengaluru and another team from Mangaluru," Raghavendra told ANI.
Shivamogga district collector KB Shivakumar said it was initially observed that there were explosives in a vehicle parked at the site. “It's being probed why they were brought here. Till now we recovered two bodies. It's being circulated in public that 10-15 [people] died. But it's not substantiated by any facts,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
“As per our preliminary information, since the incident occurred at night there was no worker working here. So, all the people who worked here regularly are safe. We have confirmed it. We are trying to trace the people who were accompanying the vehicle,” he added.
Shivakumar said that police have begun the investigation and bomb detection squads have also been asked to reach the spot to ascertain the cause of the blast.
Meanwhile, state minister KS Eshwarappa told ANI that was the first time such an incident had happened in Shivamogga. “Experts are coming from Bengaluru, they will give a report after which we will take action,” he said.
The blast at around 10:30pm on Thursday sent shockwaves not only in Shivamogga but also in neighbouring Chikkamagaluru and Davangere districts, according to news agency PTI. The explosion was so strong that window panes shattered while many houses and even roads developed cracks, an eye witness was quoted as saying. "There has been a blast in a truck carrying gelatin. The vibrations were felt locally," a police official told PTI on Thursday.
Due to its high intensity, the jolt was earlier mistaken to have been caused by an earthquake, however, geologists ruled out recording tremors in any of their observatories.
The victims were reportedly transporting the explosives meant for mining when the explosion occurred. The vehicle was badly mangled and the bodies of the victims were dismembered beyond recognition.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the death of the blast victims. "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," his office said in a tweet.
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