In the worst-ever accident in the history of Viskhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP), 16 workers , including some officers, were burnt alive following a huge explosion in the recently commissioned oxygen plant in the steel melting shop III unit on Wednesday night. About 20 workers were injured. The explosion occurred when the officials were conducting a trial run of the oxygen plant. Most of those killed on Wednesday night were contract workers.
At the time of the accident, 31 workers, including DGM-level rank officers, were in the shift. Sources say that the death toll is likely to go up as nobody knows as to how many workers stayed close to the oxygen plant at the time of the mishap. After the massive blast, a huge fire raged across the plant. All the workers and officials present in the oxygen plant were charred to death. The oxygen plant was completely gutted as huge flames swept through the unit. The injured suffered 80-90% burns. The Seven Hills Hospital was filled with the cries of the injured workers screaming in agony.
The new SMS III wing, which was constructed as part of the expansion works of the plant, was commissioned recently. The trade unions and the workers were searching for the bodies at the accident spot while fire fighters were trying to control the fire. Raju, an eye witness, said 10 bodies have been taken out from the charred remains of the gutted plant. “We have never heard of such a tragedy in VSP history,” Shankar, a worker, who escaped the fire, said.