Restaurant explosion leaves several dead
NEW DELHI (AP):
At least 89 people were killed at a restaurant in central India yesterday when a cooking gas cylinder exploded and triggered a second blast of mine detonators stored illegally nearby.
The restaurant, located next to the main bus station in the town of Petlawad, was crowded with people having breakfast when the blasts occurred.
The building where the restaurant was located and an adjacent building were destroyed in the explosions, and motorbikes outside the restaurant were flattened.
Rescue workers extricated 89 bodies from under a huge heap of rubble, Gond said.
A state health official said doctors at a government hospital in a nearby district conducted autopsies of 60 victims. The bodies were then handed over to the victims' families.
Most of those killed in the explosions were poor labourers. Their families were likely to cremate the bodies late yesterday.
Around 100 other people were injured in the blasts and were taken to hospitals.
A local woman said she heard a loud noise at around 8:30 a.m. "I thought it was a gas cylinder that had burst, so I rushed there to see what had happened," said Jaya Rathore, a middle-aged woman, at a hospital where she had gone to check on some relatives who were injured in the explosions.
Residents were evacuated from several adjoining buildings that were damaged in the blasts.
Police struggled to keep hundreds of onlookers and people looking for their relatives away from the site of the explosions. The crowds hampered the movement of ambulances and other emergency vehicles, and officers had to push them back to allow a bulldozer to reach the restaurant.
Yesterday evening, the police said that the rescue operation had ended and that there were no more bodies under the rubble.