The death toll in the explosion at a chemical factory in Maharashtra’s Palghar district in India Saturday has risen to seven with the recovery of one more body, officials said.
The blast occurred Saturday evening during the testing of some chemicals at the under-construction plant of Ank Pharma in Kolwade village, killing six people.
“During the debris clearing operation, one more body was found on Sunday morning. The deceased has been identified as Trinad Dasari, 35,” district disaster control cell chief Vivekananda Kadam said. One girl was still missing, he said, adding a search was on to trace her.
The six found dead on Saturday have been identified as Mohan Ingle, 45, Sakshi Madan, 39, Nishu Singh, 26, Madhuri Singh, 46, Gokul Jadhav, 18, and Ilyas Ansari, 45, a factory watchman.
In addition, there were seven injured, including the plant owner Natwarbhai Patel, who was seriously hurt, and they were undergoing treatment at different hospitals, Kadam said.
The explosion took place during the testing of some chemicals at 7:20 p.m. at the plant in a Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) area of Boisar, located over 100 km away from Mumbai, officials earlier said.
District Guardian minister Dada Bhuse, who also inspected the blast site late Saturday night, later said the factory had permission from the authorities concerned to carry out testing of machinery at the unit.
The blast was so huge that it was heard within a 15-km radius, and window panes of some houses in the surrounding area shattered, officials said.
The under-construction plant building collapsed after the explosion and two other chemical units located in the vicinity also suffered damages, Kadam said.
A team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team was also called for rescue operations on Saturday.
Bhuse said the plant had permission from the authorities concerned to carry out testing of machinery.
“However, the district health and safety officials will visit the site today and carry out an inspection. Based on their report, police will take further action,” he said.
As of now, an accidental death report has been registered, an official at Boisar police station said.
“In view of several chemical units located in Boisar MIDC, we have to now seriously think of taking steps to prevent such incidents in future,” Bhuse said.
The minister said he would hold a meeting with all stakeholders in the coming days to come up with some preventive measures.
“We would seek guidance and suggestions from experts in this field. Periodic inspections of these plants will be conducted to come out with safety measures,” he said.
Cause of the blast is still under investigation.