Death toll from Bangladesh mosque AC explosion rises to 24

Act blast
Twenty-one victims of the blasts died until 11 pm Saturday | Photo: Twitter

The death toll from an explosion of air conditioners in a mosque on the outskirts of Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka rose to 24, with three more victims succumbing to their injuries on Sunday, doctors said.

A gas leak in an underground pipeline caused six air conditioners to explode almost simultaneously during Friday evening prayers at the Baitul Salat mosque in the central district of Narayanganj.

Twenty-one victims of the blasts died until 11 pm Saturday. Three more victims died on Sunday during their treatment, the Daily Star reported, quoting doctors of the Dhaka-based Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery.

A seven-year-old boy was among the 24 dead. Another 13 people are battling for their lives at the hospital, according to Fire officials suspect accumulated gas from a leaked pipeline triggered a spark and all six air conditioners on the ground floor of the mosque exploded.

“A gas pipeline passes beneath the mosque. We are suspecting that gas leaked from the pipeline and accumulated inside as the windows were closed. The explosion was probably triggered due to sparks when someone tried to switch on or off the ACs or fans,” Narayanganj Fire Services Deputy Assistant Director Abdullah Al Arefin said on Saturday.

According to reports, the mosque committee had recently filed a complaint over leakage of the gas pipeline of the Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited.

The members of the committee said the Titas Gas authorities asked for a Tk50,000 bribe. As the bribe was not paid, the authorities neglected the matter which resulted into this catastrophe, the Dhaka Tribune reported.

Four separate probe committees — by Narayanganj district administration, Fire Service, Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd, and Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC) — have been formed to investigate the incident, it said.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has expressed concern over the incident and issued directions to ensure all possible medical care for the victims.

Witnesses said they found five to six people coming out of the mosque as soon as the blast occurred. Worshippers, most of them severely burnt, were found lying on the floor, they said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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