Five people were killed and 26 critical injured following gas leakage from a unit at the Bhilai Steel Plant on Thursday evening.
The steel plant is a flagship entity of Steel Authority of India Ltd.
The victims were identified as deputy general managers B K Singh and N K Katariya; senior operative M R Sahu, chargeman A Samuel and fireman Ramesh Sharma.
Unconfirmed reports pegged the number of those injured at 48.
According to reports, the incident occurred after a valve of a water supply line at pump house-II burst, flooding the gas-cleaning plant area. “Suddenly, there was gas leakage on a big scale, owing to hampered water supply, which led to mishap,” said a police official.
Central Industrial Security Force personnel and fire department squads rushed to the spot to carry out rescue operations. S P Dey, president of the Hindustan Steel Workers’ Union, said after the water-line valve burst, it led to high pressure in gas supply lines, which resulted in massive gas leakage.
“Due to breakdown in water pump house-II, there was gas leakage from BF-GCP, affecting people working nearby,” said a statement issued by Bhilai Steel Plant.
The statement added a high-level inquiry would be conducted to ascertain the cause of the breakdown and the management would extend all possible support to those affected.