NEW DELHI: Three bodies were recovered on Wednesday from the site of the fire mishap during an overnight search at the Central Ammunition Depot at Pulgaon in Maharashtra, taking the death toll to 19.
“Three bodies that were charred beyond recognition have been recovered from the accident site on Wednesday,” a defence source said. All three belonged to the Defence Security Corps, the source added.
The Army will go for DNA testing to ascertain the identity of some of the victims. “Due to the impact of multiple explosions, several bodies were torn into pieces. It makes it difficult to identify them. DNA testing is the only option to establish their identity,” said an officer.
Sources claim that as the fire has completely been doused, the focus is on sanitising the 7000-acre area of the Army’s biggest ammunition depot. Some villages around the ammunition depot have been vacated to prevent any further casualty.
“After the blast, sanitisation is the biggest challenge before the authorities, as there could be splinters buried under ground. It would take months to declare the area a complete safe zone. An inquiry has been ordered to establish the cause of the fire,”an officer added.
Seventeen persons, including a senior CAD official, were on Tuesday rushed to the Acharya Vinoba Bhave Rural Hospital in Sawangi Meghe as they sustained injuries in the blaze that broke out at one of Asia’s biggest ammunition depots, which houses the largest stockpile of weapons in the country.
Three of the injured were airlifted to the Army Hospital in Pune on Wednesday, including Deputy Commandant of the CAD, Col Ganendra Singh and two other officers — Sharad Yadav and Jagdish Chandra.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar along with Army Chief General Dalbir Singh visited the hospital on Tuesday after inspecting the fire site.