Three killed as minivan ferrying crackers explodes in Tamil Nadu’s Villupuram
At three least people were killed and 15 others were seriously injured on Monday after a minivan carrying crackers and fireworks exploded at Gingee, about 170 km South of Chennai, police said.
The driver and the cleaner of the vehicle and an unidentified bystander were killed in the explosion around 8 am in Nangilikondan village near Gingee town in Villupuram district.
The deceased were identified as E Elavarasan, the driver and Sai Baba, the cleaner. An unknown man who was near the van was also killed and all three men were blown to pieces.
“The van was on its way from a private fireworks unit owned by one Veerasamy in Villianur, Puducherry. While the minivan was headed towards Thiruvannamalai to supply crackers, the accident happened near Gingee,” said K Needhiraj, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Gingee.
Police said the van exploded when the driver stopped the vehicle and was pouring water into the radiator which had overheated.
“When the van’s radiator emitted smoke, the driver stopped the van at Nangilikondan Village to pour water into the radiator. People who were standing nearby the road had noticed that smoke was coming inside from the vehicle. The explosion took place when the driver and cleaner tried to find out the cause of the smoke,” said an officer.
V Pasupathy, Gingee Fire Station Officer said that his team comprising of nine fire-fighters struggled for nearly an hour to put out the fire.
“Nine fire-fighters and a fire tender had reached the spot within ten minutes after we were called. When we reached the spot, the minivan had been completely destroyed. We have retrieved remains of three bodies that were blown to pieces,” said Pasupathy.
The fire station officer also said that the explosion also destroyed buildings within a 100-meter radius.
“Metal debris from the van had embedded in the nearby houses, and shops. Window panes of a bus were also broken in the blast. About 15 people who were near the accident spot have sustained grevious injuries. The injured people were taken to Gingee government hospital.Some of them were shifted to Mundiyampakkam Government Hospital in Villupuram and Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) in Puducherry for advanced treatment,” a police officer said.
The bodies have been sent to Mundiyambakkam General Hospital for autopsy. A probe has been initiated over this incident.
Since the minivan was registered in Puducherry and used to supply crackers to the retail outlets in Villupuram and Thiruvannamalai districts, Gingee police have registered a case against fireworks unit owner Veerasamy under different sections of the Explosives Act.
S Jayakumar, Superintendent of Police of Villupuram district who is leading the probe, visited the accident spot and spoke to the villagers.