26 dead at Indian power plant after boiler pipe explosion engulfs workers with burning steam

One survivor described being engulfed by burning hot steam when the explosion occurred

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 November, 2017, 4:18pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 November, 2017, 5:47pm

The death toll from an explosion at a coal-fired power plant in northern India has risen to 26, the government said Thursday, as 10 more people died of their injuries.

Several more victims are being treated for critical injuries sustained Wednesday when a boiler pipe burst at a plant in Raebareli district of northern Uttar Pradesh state, run by India’s largest state-owned power utility.

A list prepared by the state government showed 26 people had died, though some have yet to be identified.

One survivor described being engulfed by burning hot steam when the explosion occurred.

The man lost consciousness and woke up in hospital covered in burns, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

Anand Kumar, a director general of police in the state capital Lucknow, said preliminary findings suggested that ash had collected in the furnace below the boiler, causing the explosion.

“Ash had accumulated for some reason which should not have happened. And due to that, pressure built up inside and led to the blast,” he said in a video statement uploaded on YouTube.

The state operator said there was a “sudden abnormal sound” at one of the units in the plant.

“An inquiry has been set up by NTPC management to investigate the reasons for the accident,” it said in a statement late Wednesday.

“All possible measures are being taken to provide immediate relief to the families of affected people in close coordination with the district administration.”

Workplace accidents are common in India, where poor safety standards and lax enforcement of regulations have led to horrific deaths.

The 1,550-megawatt (MW) plant, which employs around 870 people and supplies electricity to nine neighbouring states, has been shut down.

Its owner the National Thermal Power Corporation has launched an inquiry into what caused the disaster.