Cylinder explosions kill 89 in MP town

Cylinder explosions kill 89 in MP town

Gelatin sticks in shop trigger blasts in adjacent hotel

Cylinder explosions kill 89 in MP town

At least 89 people were killed and over 100 injured after several cylinders inside a hotel exploded in the Petlawad town of Jhabua district, Madhya Pradesh, on Saturday.

The explosions are believed to have been triggered by the accidental blast of gelatin sticks in an adjacent building.

The high-impact blast struck the adjoining popular eatery, Hotel Sethia, where gas cylinders in the kitchen exploded compounding the disaster.

The hotel and building were completely damaged in the incident. The owner had license for storing mining explosives, said the police.

Victims were labourers
The dead include at least eight hotel employees, several customers who were having breakfast in the packed eatery, occupants of the building and a large number of daily wage labourers who were waiting for buses in the vicinity.

One of the injured, Narsingh (42), said that body parts were strewn around in the vicinity.
“I saw them flying and falling on the ground. Vehicles, especially two-wheelers, were badly damaged,” he said.

“I heard the blasts and immediately ran towards the spot. Dust hung over the area. Parts of the bodies were scattered all over the place. A girl was crying and she was rescued,” said Babu Lal, an eyewitness.

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Babulal Gaur has ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident. Jhabua, located over 300 km from state capital Bhopal, is a tribal belt.

“So far, we have performed 82 autopsies,” chief medical officer Dr Arun Sharma told Deccan Herald over phone. Due to the impact of the explosion, the double-storeyed building where gelatin sticks was stored collapsed trapping several people.

“Many people were trapped under the wreckage and have sustained injuries. We are trying to locate the injured and extract them,” said Inspector Kunwar Singh. Jhabua ASP Seema Alawa said the casualties may go up as many people have suffered grievous injuries and were in a critical condition. The injured have been rushed to government hospitals in Ratlam and Indore, she added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences to the victims’ kin. “Extremely pained at the loss of lives due to the cylinder blast in Jhabua. My deepest condolences to the families of the deceased,” he tweeted. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to each of the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured.

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