Loud explosions off Bengal coast trigger panic among tourists
There were speculations whether missiles test fired from Chandipur in Odisha accidentally landed near the Bengal coast.Updated: Aug 26, 2017 21:00 IST
A couple of loud explosions off the West Bengal coast triggered widespread panic in the beach tourists of Digha and Mandarmani at 11:10 on Saturday morning. The explosions that seemed to take place out in the sea were so loud that window panes of a few hotels were shattered and there were reports of a few walls suffering cracks as well.
East Midnapore district police officers also told HT that the sound was also heard from Tajpur, another popular tourist spot about 18 kms from Digha.
“We are looking into what actually happened. We have also informed the Coast Guard. The sound was also heard in Tajpur as well as in Digha,” Alok Rajoria, superintendent of police of the district.
After the explosion, the local administration forbade the tourists to go into the waters.
Incidentally, the missile testing range at Chandipur on Odisha coastline is about 50 km from Digha. There were speculations whether missiles test fired from this spot accidentally landed close to the Bengal coastline. A number of missiles have been launched from the Integrated Test Range including Akash, Shaurya, Agni and Prithvi ballistic missiles.
However, defence sources said they had no confirmation of any wayward missile. They also pointed out test fired missiles don’t usually pack explosives.
There were also speculations that explosions could have carried out in the depths of the sea that might have caused the sonic boom that could have shattered the window panes.
“It was a terrible moment. I cannot express my feeling when I heard that sound. This is a weekend and there is a rush of tourists in Digha. There was panic everywhere,” said Malabika Banerjee, a tourist.
Some said there was a mild quake after the explosion.
“The first sound was heard around 11.10 am. It was followed by another one and we felt a quake too. None had any ides what happened and tourists rushed out of their rooms and went to the roads,” said Girish Raut, a hotel owner at Digha.
First Published: Aug 26, 2017 15:50 IST