Shimoga: At least five quarry workers were charred to death after a explosive laden truck exploded near Hunsodu, 7-km from Shimoga late Thursday night, confirmed Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa while announcing Rs 5 lakh compensation to the family of each victim.
“Five people have died in the explosion at a quarry in Hunasodu village of Shivamogga on Thursday. A compensation of Rs 5 lakh each has been announced for kin of the deceased. MP BY Raghavendra & officials are looking into it. Mines minister is also going there. I will also go to the spot,” said the state CM.
The horrific incident happened when gelatin sticks or stone-blasting material loaded on a truck exploded while workers had parked the vehicle and were resting around 10:20 pm. The truck was transporting gelatin sticks to a quarry in the region owned by a local businessman. There were nearly 100 quarrying sites in the vicinity.
“It was initially observed that there were explosives in a vehicle parked here. It’s being probed that why were they brought here. Till now, we recovered two bodies. It’s being circulated in public that 10-15 died. But it’s not substantiated by any facts,” said Shimoga district collector K S Eshwarappa.
The police have cordoned the area. A bomb squad and a forensic expert team from Bengaluru have reached the spot.
Extending condolences to the families of deceased PM Modi tweeted, “Pained by the loss of lives in Shimoga. Condolences to bereaved families. Praying that the injured recover soon. State Govt is providing all possible assistance to affected.
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: PM @narendramodi
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) January 22, 2021
The impact of the explosion was so massive that it felt like an earthquake. The windowpanes were shattered and buildings were damaged in parts of Shimoga and Chikkamagaluru districts in the Malnad region. Talking about it the Shimoga deputy commissioner KB Sivakumar said he ran out of his home fearing a quake, as did many other residents.
As per Police sources bodies found on the spot were charred beyond recognition and the truck was blown to smithereens.
A dozen labourers were reportedly travelling in the truck out of which 5 were killed in the appalling incident. Pungent fumes were emanating from the accident site and officers did not want to take the risk of entering the site in complete darkness, said Shimoga Rural MLA KB Ashok Naik.
Meanwhile, two people were detained by the police; stone crusher owner Sudhakar on Thursday night while business partner Gandhada Maneya Narashima was arrested on Friday morning, sources said.
As per reports, the duo had taken the land on lease from Avinash Kulkarni and were involved in the stone crushing business from past few years. Police reports revealed that the duo were history-sheeters who have criminal charges in various police stations in the district.