BENGALURU: Three sanitation workers, who got into a 15-ft deep manhole to clean it, were suffocated to death in the wee hours of Tuesday. The tragedy occurred on Kaggadasapura main road in CV Raman Nagar. The workers hailed from Andhra Pradesh.
The men, who work for a private contractor, were asked to clear a manhole that was overflowing after Monday evening’s rain. They reached the manhole around 12.30am. Anjaneya Reddy (34), a native of Ramachandrapura village, Prakasham district, first went in. When he didn’t come out or respond to calls, the other worker —Yerraiah (35) of Narasipete in Srikakulam —went in to check on Reddy.
When he too did not emerge, Dhavathi Naidu (40), driver of a tractor which ferried the workers to the spot, panicked. After taking help from passersby, Naidu went in to rescue his co-workers but never emerged.
A cab driver and four others who witnessed Naidu entering the manhole alerted the fire brigade.
By the time, fire personnel arrived, all three were found asphyxiated to death. The bodies were shifted to Bowring Hospital, where post mortem will be conducted after kin of the deceased arrive on Wednesday morning.
The men were working for Hyderabad-based Ramkay Enterprises. Baiyyappanahalli police said the contractor was responsible for the deaths. A 2014 Supreme Court order had abolished manhole scavenging, but the practice remains rampant. Since 2008, 63 people have died in the state cleaning manholes.