Death toll in Indiaâ€™s building blast rises to 90
At least 90 people were killed and over 150 others injured when an explosion ripped through a packed restaurant near a bus stop in central Indian Madhya Pradesh stateâ€™s Jhabua district on Saturday.
Chief medical officer Dr. Arun Sharma told local media that the death toll could still rise while 90 people have been confirmed dead in the explosion and authorities have â€œperformed the autopsy of 82 people.â€
The reason for the blast was not immediately clear but sources said it may have been triggered by gelatine sticks, a kind of high powered explosives used for mining, that were stored along with gas cylinders in a nearby home.
The blast occurred in the town of Petlawad at around 08:30 a.m. when dozens of office workers and schoolchildren were having breakfast at the restaurant, said police.
â€œPeople were thrown away like pebbles in the air due to the explosion,â€ local daily The Hindustan Times quoted a witness as saying.
The death toll is likely to rise as the intensity of the blast took down three houses and the restaurant to rubbles, leaving many people trapped in the debris.
There have been various descriptions of the blast. Police said earlier that it was caused by gas cylinders, followed by later speculations of fireworks stored by the landlord of the restaurant which caught fire and led to the explosion.
While authorities have vowed to launch an inquiry into the incident, negligence was blamed on them for failing to check any illegal storing of explosives in crowded residential areas of the city.
The state government said it would pay the families of each dead some 2,500 U.S. dollars, a common practice in India when deadly incidents occur.
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