A powerful blast reportedly caused by gelatin sticks at a stone crusher facility on the outskirts of Shivamogga left at least six labourers dead besides damaging several homes in Shivamogga City and rural areas late Thursday night.
The loud blast that occurred around 10.30 pm, resulted in the mild tremors in parts of Shivamogga, Chikkamagaluru, Uttara Kannada and Davanagere while causing considerable damage to buildings and civic infrastructure in Shivamogga city.
Sources in the Shivamogga district administration confirmed to DH about a high-intensity blast from dynamite sticks being brought in a truck to a quarrying site on the city's outskirts.
Sources at Hunasodu village where the powerful blast occurred said more than 50 dynamite and gelatin sticks were being carried in a truck.
Due to the explosion, the adjoining villages of Hunasodu were engulfed in thick nauseating smoke. "The intensity of the blast was such that the entire truck was blown to pieces killing six labourers on the spot while injuring others. The road leading to Abbalagere developed major cracks," said an official from Shivamogga district administration.
K B Ashok Naik, MLA from Shivamogga said that loud blasts were reportedly heard at the Railways crusher facility near Hunasodu village. "I have been told by the local party workers and police that at least five people have died and the entire area is engulfed in a cloud of thick nauseating smoke. No official has been able to reach the spot due to the intense smoke. However, locals have been able to retrieve the bodies of five labourers from the blast site," he said. The workers were said to be from Bihar and working at a quarry.
Following the tremors, people rushed out of their houses in panic.
Jagadish, a scientist (Seismology) at the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Cell (KSNDMC) told DH that these were 'Shallow Depth Tremors' induced by local surface blasts of high intensity. "Our observatories at Linganamakki, Mangaluru and Brahmavar (Udupi) have not recorded any earthquake. Usually, quake tremors are recorded from the depth of 15 to 20 km from the top layer of the earth. The tremors that have been reported now may have triggered at the depth of one kilometre to 5 kilometres and hence the devices could not capture it," Jagadish explained.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday expressed pain at the loss of lives in an explosion in Karnataka's Shivamogga district and said the state government is providing all possible assistance to the affected.
In a message tweeted by the Prime Minister's Office, Modi 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."
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also offered condolences to the families of the victims. "The news of blast at stone mining quarry in Karnataka is tragic. Condolences to the families of the victims. Such incidents call for in-depth investigation so that similar tragedies can be avoided in the future," he tweeted,