18 killed in Tamil Nadu explosive factory blast


Trichy, India—As many as 18 workers died in a blast at an explosive factory near Thuraiyur in Trichy district of Tamil Nadu on Thursday morning.
The blast occurred at Vetrivel Explosives — which produces Pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) — around 7.30am. PETN in an explosive with a high shattering capability.
The blast occurred in PETN unit-2. The high intensity blast brought the concrete building down, and workers were trapped under the debris. All those who were trapped under the debris were feared dead. Parts of six of bodies were recovered from the blast site.
The blast was so intense that the concrete blocks of the building were thrown away to a distance of over 50 metre from the blast site. It broke windowpanes of several adjoining buildings and windshields of vehicles parked in the factory.
The blast shook a 5km radius like a tremour. People living in nearby villages left their homes fearing further blasts might occur in the factory. Owned by Ramalingam and Vijayakannan, Vetrivel Explosives is headquartered in Nagpur. It was situated in Murungapatti village, around 74km from Trichy, on the Attur-Musiri road.
Members of one of the expert teams that visited the spot said that the licence for such explosives units are issued in Nashik. He said this was the first time that a blast had occurred in the unit and all the necessary precaution and fire safety measures had been taken by the factory management. The licence of the factory had been renewed every year, he said.
The real reason for the blast could be ascertained only after technical teams from Chennai and Sivakasi inspect the spot.
Neyveli Lignite Corporation is one of the clients of Vetrivel Explosives. The explosives are used to blast coal beds and rocks.—TNN