KURNOOL: At least eleven people were killed in an explosion at a stone crushing quarry in Aluru Mandal of Kurnool district on Friday night. Three tractors, a lorry and the shed under which the workers were taking rest were gutted, police said.
According to eye-witnesses, the tremors were felt up to 10 km away and nearby houses developed cracks. All the deceased are suspected to be migrant labourers from Odisha.
There were nearly 30 workers at the quarry when the blast took place. Though most sustained burns, a few escaped safely.
So intense was the blast, that dismembered limbs of the deceased were found strewn around the quarry. “The blast took place around 8.15 pm. When we rushed to the spot, we saw three tractors and a lorry going up in flames and seven bodies, some of them dismembered,’’ a local said. Passers-by recalled that they initially saw a flame, followed by a huge explosion.
Fire tenders rushed to the accident site were trying to douse the flames that engulfed the vehicles and the shed when reports last came in. Police have cordoned off the area and are not allowing anyone near the blast site, fearing more explosions.
It is learned that the quarry was operating illegally and residents of nearby villages had been asking officials to take action against unauthorised blasts to crush stone and the movement of heavy vehicles in the area.
Meanwhile, it has come to light that a Bengaluru-based firm has been carrying out stone crushing activity on 200 acres of land at in Agraharam, Hattibelagal and nearby villages despite securing permission for just 5 acres in Aluru and Agraharam.
Villagers alleged the huge number of explosives stocked up by the quarry management exacerbated the impact of the blast. As the quarry is in a hilly area, the extent of damage caused can be ascertained only on Saturday morning, officials said.
Hattibelagal villagers staged a sit-in demonstration at the local police station against authorities for failing to take action against illegal activities at the blast site despite being informed.
CM reacts to accident
AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu expressed shock over the loss of human life in the blast and asked Kurnool district officials to rush to the blast site immediately