Fourteen people have been confirmed dead after a huge blast took place at a gas pipeline near Oil and Natural Gas Corporation's gas connection station in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh early Friday morning, officials said. PTI reports GAIL Chairman BC Tripathi said the fire occurred in an 18-inch pipeline of the company near to the ONGC refinery complex.
The cause of the explosion, which took place at around 6 am is presently not known.
Television visuals showed a massive fire at the ONGC site and the Times Now channel quoted officials as saying that the death toll was likely to rise, as there was a possibility that people were still trapped inside the site. Hospital staff in the area have been put on standby while 20 fire tenders have been rushed to the area.
IANS has reported that eyewitnesses as saying that, "11 people caught in the blaze were burnt alive. Fifteen others were injured and were taken to hospital. Police have confirmed three deaths." Those who suffered burns are being shifted to Amalapuram and Kakinada hospitals.
The blast took place in the early hours, in Nagaram village in Amalapuram mandal, about 560 km from Hyderabad, reports PTI. “The fire has been was brought under control and rescues operations are underway. The toll may rise,” PTI quotes East Godavari District Collector Neetu Kumari Prasad as saying.
Gail India opened 1.67 percent lower at Rs 454 on the BSE after the blast. Confirming reports of a blast in a pipeline in East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh, Ashutosh Karnatak, director of projects at GAIL told CNBC-TV18 that the situation is under control. He could not ascertain the manpower or the monetary loss, but said the pipeline was operational.
GAIL authorities have now confirmed that the fire at the site has been completely extinguished.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted expressing his condolences to those who had passed away in the accident. "My thoughts with the families of those who lost their lives in the GAIL Pipeline fire in AP. Prayers with the injured," he said.
Modi has also spoken to the Petroleum Minister, Cabinet Secretary & GAIL Chairman to ensure immediate relief at the accident site.
With agency inputs