According to reports from the site at the time of going to press, the truck was transporting gelatin 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.
“Pained by loss of lives in Shivamogga. Condolences to bereaved families. Praying that the injured recover soon. State Govt is providing all possible assistance to affected,” tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Pained by the loss of lives in Shivamogga. Condolences to the bereaved families. Praying that the injured recover s… https://t.co/i8mAmmbnvu
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) 1611279634000
Ran out of house, it felt like a quake, says DC
Such was its impact that windowpanes were shattered and buildings damaged in parts of Shivamogga and Chikkamagaluru districts in the Malnad region. Shivamogga 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. Eight bodies have been traced so far.
Shivamogga Rural MLA KB Ashok Naik said about a dozen labourers were reportedly travelling in the truck. Pungent fumes are emanating from the site and officers do not want to run the risk of entering the site in complete darkness, he said. Police teams are awaiting experts to assess the site before moving in.
No earthquake reported: KSNDMC
Manoj Rajan, director, the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) released a statement saying there was no earthquake reported in the area.
“Data from the nearby seismic stations at Udupi and Mangaluru have been collected and there was no seismic activity recorded. Also, information was sought from the National Centre for Seismology, New Delhi wherein no seismic activity was reported by them too,” he said.
“The reason might be that the activity was felt from a very shallow depth, possibly less than 5km and also the magnitude on the Richter scale was less than 1.0, so it wasn’t recorded by any seismometer,” he stated.
Police detain 2 quarry owners
Police detained stone crusher owner Sudhakar on Thursday night while business partner Gandhada Maneya Narashima was arrested on Friday morning, sources said.
Karnataka: Police and officials inspect the site in Hunasodu village of Shivamogga district where a blast occurred… https://t.co/tuqA6iFLrG
— ANI (@ANI) 1611287036000
The duo had taken the land for lease from Avinash Kulkarni and was involved in the stone crushing business from past few years. Police said that the duo were history-sheeters who have criminal charges in various police stations in the district.
The police have cordoned the area and are expecting the bomb squad and forensic expert team from Bengaluru to reach the spot by 9am.
(With inputs from Udaya Kumar)