18 Indians feared killed in gas tanker blast at factory in Sudan’s Khartoum
Media reports quoted eyewitnesses in the Sudanese capital as saying that the LPG tanker exploded while a shipment was being unloaded at Seela Ceramics Factory in Bahri area of Khartoum on Tuesday evening. More than 130 people were also injured.Updated: Dec 04, 2019 22:30 IST
At least 18 Indians are feared to be among 23 people killed when a gas tanker exploded at a ceramic factory in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, Indian authorities said on Wednesday.
In a statement, the Indian embassy in Khartoum said latest reports put the number of Indians killed at 18, but it cautioned the figure was “so far not confirmed officially”. External affairs minister S Jaishankar tweeted that “some Indian workers have lost their lives while some others have been seriously injured”.
Media reports quoted eyewitnesses in the Sudanese capital as saying that the LPG tanker exploded while a shipment was being unloaded at Seela Ceramics Factory in Bahri area of Khartoum on Tuesday evening. More than 130 people were also injured.
A total of 60 Indians were employed in the factory and 53 of them were present at the facility and its residential area at the time of the incident, Jaishankar tweeted.
A person familiar with developments, who declined to be identified, said, “Unless we get confirmation about the nationality of those who have died, getting the exact figure may not be possible at this stage.”
The Indian embassy’s statement said 16 Indian workers had been listed as missing. It added that “some of the missing may be in the list of dead which we are still to receive (from Sudanese authorities) as identification is not possible because of the bodies being burnt”.
The statement said seven Indians had been hospitalised in Al Amal Hospital, and three of them were in the intensive care unit. It listed another 34 Indian workers who had survived the blast and fire.
An AFP report quoted the Sudan government as saying that 23 people were killed and more than 130 injured in the incident. Preliminary reports indicated that necessary safety equipment was not available at the factory.
“There were also inflammable materials improperly stored, which led to the spread of the fire,” the government said, adding an investigation had been launched.
VOA quoted eyewitnesses as saying that the injured were people who had been sitting outside the factory and “people who were in the factory, none of them survived, none of them actually came out”.
The Indian embassy has set up a 24-hour emergency number for information related to the incident. Jaishankar said an embassy representative had been sent to the site and the embassy was putting out updates on social media. “Our prayers are with the workers and their families,” he said.
According to the embassy’s statement, the workers were drawn from across India, including Delhi, Bihar, Haryana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.