Dombivli factory blast: 'My husband asked if children ate lunch', recalls missing worker's wife

Officially, at least 10 persons were killed and more than 60 others injured in the reactor explosion at the chemical unit in MIDC area, which also damaged nearby factories and some houses.
Firefighters try to extinguish a fire that broke out due to a boiler blast in a chemicals factory, at Dombivli, in Thane district, Thursday,
Firefighters try to extinguish a fire that broke out due to a boiler blast in a chemicals factory, at Dombivli, in Thane district, Thursday,Express

THANE: Bharat Jaiswal asked about whether his children had lunch when he last spoke to his wife on May 23 before going "missing" after a massive blast ripped through a chemical factory at Dombivli in district.

Jaiswal's wife Hema clutched his PAN card which she found intact from the debris at the site on Saturday.

Like her, relatives of others whose husbands or other family members were working in Amudan Chemicals on the fateful day believe that they are missing.

Officially, at least 10 persons were killed and more than 60 others injured in the reactor explosion at the chemical unit in MIDC area, which also damaged nearby factories and some houses.

Only three bodies have been identified so far as the condition of other corpses is beyond recognition and authorities have decided to go for DNA profiling.

Hema said she was still searching for her husband.

"I last spoke to him on the fateful day when he asked whether she and their children had eaten lunch. He told me since it was Thursday, he was fasting," she recalled.

Hema, who works in a nearby factory, said she heard a loud explosion and tried to call up her husband on his mobile phone but couldn't get through.

"I was not aware that my husband was working in the ill-fated company which he joined in April this year. We rushed towards the company after the blast, but the police did not allow us to go near the site and drove us away," she said.

Later they were asked to check in hospitals and other places but with little success.

She had dropped her children at her mother's place in her native village and her husband was supposed to go there on May 30 to attend a marriage and bring them back, Hema said sobbing.

"We have been approaching authorities and the police but what we get are only empty assurances. The search for the missing man continues," another relative said.

Notably, the rescue team has found around 25 different parts of the bodies which have been sent for DNA analysis and tests after which the exact number of the deceased will be known.

The police had arrested Amudan Chemicals owner Malay Mehta (38) after the incident.

The Maharashtra government has set up a high-level committee to probe the circumstances and cause of the Dombivli chemical factory reactor blast.

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