All nine people feared trapped in the Srisailam hydroelectric plant, where a fire had broken out late Thursday night, are dead, authorities said on Friday (August 21). The power plant is located underground on the Telangana-Andhra Pradesh border.
“Nine persons trapped inside the Left Bank Power House in Srisailam, in Telangana side, have lost their lives in the fire accident,” Telangana State Power Generation Corporation Limited was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Six bodies have been recovered by rescue teams so far and efforts were on to pull out the others from the underground plant, Nagarkurnool District Collector L Sharman said. He said CISF personnel have also joined the rescue operation.
Thick smoke is still coming out of the tunnel where the hydel project is located and efforts are on to lessen its intensity, said the collector.
Reports suggest 20 people were on the shift when the fire broke out around 10:30 pm on Thursday. Nine people got trapped while the rest managed to escape. Of the nine trapped, one was a deputy engineer, four assistant engineers, and two workers of the plant. The rest two were from Amara Raja Batteries, reports suggest.
Though the fire was put off, thick smoke engulfed the tunnel where the power plant is located, hampering the rescue operations.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has ordered a CID probe into the accident. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has directed the state’s officials to extend all required assistance to their Telangana counterparts to handle the situation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have expressed condolences over the tragedy.
“Fire at the Srisailam hydroelectric plant is deeply unfortunate. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. I hope those injured recover at the earliest,” said Mr. Modi in a tweet.
Mr. Shah said on Twitter: “Deeply anguished to learn about the loss of lives due to tragic fire accident at the Srisailam hydroelectric plant in Telangana. My deepest condolences are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover at the earliest.”