Five quarry workers were charred to death after gelatin sticks loaded on a truck exploded near Hunsodu. Many more are feared to have died, officials said. The chief minister has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each for the kin of the deceased.
The truck was transporting gelatine sticks or stone-blasting material to a quarry in the region owned by a local businessman. The truck is believed to have been parked at the time and the labourers were resting. There are nearly 100 quarrying sites in the vicinity. The explosion occurred around 10.20pm.
The possibility of subsequent explosions at the quarry at Hunasondi near village Abbalagere has not been ruled out since some dynamite sticks are still live, the police were quoted as saying by news agency PTI. The entire area has been sealed.
Such was its impact that windowpanes were shattered and buildings damaged in parts of Shimoga and Chikkamagaluru districts in the Malnad region. Shimoga deputy commissioner KB Sivakumar said he ran out of his home fearing a quake, as did many other residents.
Police sources said bodies found on the spot were charred beyond recognition and the truck blown to smithereens. This had never happened before in Shivamogga. We are witnessing this for the first time here. Experts are coming from Bengaluru, they will give a report after which we will take action: KS Eshwarappa, Karnataka Minister said on explosion.
The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has expressed grief over the loss of lives in Shivamogga. In a tweet, the Prime Minister said, "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."