Explosion at GAIL gas pipeline in Andhra leaves 14 dead, 30 injured

At least 14 people were burnt to death and about 30 others were injured in a huge blast and fire that took place at a gas pipeline belonging to the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) at Tatipaka, in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, at around 5:30 in the morning.

There was a major gas leakage from the pipeline at around 4:30 am at Nagaram village in Mamidikuduru Mandal of the district which spread to nearby areas and enveloped the area.

The explosion might have been triggered by the lighting of a stove by a tea vendor, IGP North Coastal Zone Atul Singh said. He said a detailed inquiry would be needed to know the exact cause of the incident.

The fire caused massive losses all around and coconut trees and other crops in over 10 acres were reduced to ashes.

The dead include three women and three children. The death toll may rise as the condition of 15 of the injured is said to be critical. District officials of the East Godavari district said the administration recovered 13 bodies from the accident site while another death was reported from the hospital where the injured are being treated.

The injured have been admitted to Amlapuram hospitals, a communication by the ministry of petroleum said, adding that the officials of the ministry and GAIL are in contact with the district administration.

The fire has been brought under control. All the steps have been taken on the site for prevention, like closing of input/output valves to the pipeline.

The minister of state for petroleum and natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan has ordered a high-level inquiry into the pipeline explosion. The inquiry will be undertaken by the committee, headed by joint secretary, ministry of petroleum and natural gas, ED of HPCL, ED of OISD and a nominee of the National Disaster management Authority (NDMA). 

The petroleum minister, along with the Andhra Pradesh chief minister, secretary, ministry of petroleum and natural gas, and chairman of GAIL have rushed to the site.

Pradhan has expressed concern at the accident, and assured that strong steps for safety and security of oil and gas installations will be taken so as to ensure non-recurrence of such incidents. He also directed immediate rescue, relief and rehabilitation measures.

The President of India Pranab Mukherjee and prime ministter Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the explosion.