Death toll in India gas cylinder blast tops 100

2015-09-12 14:08
People gather around the site of an explosion at a restaurant in Jhabua district in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. (STR / AFP)

People gather around the site of an explosion at a restaurant in Jhabua district in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. (STR / AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New Delhi - At least 104 people died when a cooking gas cylinder exploded in a packed restaurant in India's central Madhya Pradesh state on Saturday morning, police said, with the blast shattering nearby buildings.

The death toll rose rapidly from an initial count of 20 after rescuers recovered dozens more bodies from the debris of the destroyed restaurant and neighbouring structures in the town of Petlawad in Jhabua district.

"There are 104 confirmed deaths at the moment. Eighty-two postmortems have been carried out and 22 are still pending," M L Gond, an inspector in charge of Jhabua's police control room, told AFP by phone.

"My information is that 60 people are injured, but the number could be higher," he said.

Arun Kumar Sharma, chief medical officer of Jhabua district, told AFP by phone from the local hospital that about 100 people were injured in the blast, 20 of them seriously.

The blast occurred at around 08:30 at the restaurant where many office workers and schoolchildren were having breakfast, senior district police official Seema Alava said.

Television footage showed scores of people and rescue workers using their bare hands to shift mangled heaps of steel and concrete of the ruined buildings while police cordoned off the area.

Bodies covered in dust and ash lay in the streets alongside the twisted wreckage of burned vehicles.

Authorities suspect the intensity of the explosion may have been compounded by detonators and gelatin sticks, an explosive material used in mining, being stored either in the restaurant building or the neighbouring one.

"It looks like someone had stored those explosives, the ones used in mining, in one of the buildings. But only further investigation will reveal the exact details," Alava told AFP from the site.


She added that the blast knocked down a neighbouring building and damaged several others.

Another district police official, Anurag Mishra, cited the restaurant's proximity to a busy bus stand as a reason for the high number of casualties.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan took to Twitter to express his sadness at the loss of life.

"The Jhabua tragedy is heart wrenching. I offer my condolences to the families of the victims and pray for the speedy recovery of those injured," Chouhan said.

He offered compensation of $3 020 to the families of the dead and $755 to help the injured victims.

Chouhan has also ordered an inquiry into the matter.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi followed suit and conveyed his condolences on the micro-blogging site.

"Extremely pained at the loss of lives due to the cylinder blast in Jhabua," Modi said.

Domestic gas cylinder explosions are common in India, where safety standards are relatively poor.

But although reports of fatal accidents from cylinder blasts are frequent, mass casualties are unusual.

Read more on:    india

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.