BENGALURU: Two labourers and two men who went to rescue them were suffocated to death in a manhole in Doddaballapur Town in Bengaluru Rural district on Sunday. The labourers who got into the 12-foot-deep manhole had no safety equipment, police sources said.
Tension prevailed at the spot as the locals staged a protest and demanded action against officials for the negligence.
The deceased are Muniswamy (34), a native of Tamil Nadu, Jagannath alias Jagan (28) of Andhra Pradesh, both labourers; Muniraju (24) and Madhu (22), said to be locals.
The police said the incident took place around 2.15 pm when Jagan and Muniswamy were cleaning the manhole at Khasbag railway gate main road. Muniswamy first went into the manhole. A while later, he fell unconscious due to suffocation. When he did not come up, Jagan climbed in. When he too did not surface, Madhu, a resident of Tubarapete village, went to rescue them and was suffocated to death. Muniraju of Amanshupura village then went in to pull all three up. But he too died.
The locals who grew suspicious alerted the fire and emergency personnel who rushed to the spot and retrieved the four bodies from the manhole.
Dr Gowrishankar, who alerted the fire and emergency personnel, said Madhu who was riding by and had noticed the labourers going into the manhole rushed to their rescue along with his friend Muniraju.
Meanwhile, a lineman who was part of the people who had gathered there forced another man to get in. But the latter sensed danger and called an ambulance.
The sewage was linked to industrial factories around the area and chemical wastage flows into it. Contractor Rao who had hired the labourers is absconding.