Update as of 3:39 a.m. EDT: Fourteen people are dead and 20 are injured following a blast and fire at a gas pipeline run by Gas Authority of India Limited, or GAIL, Reuters reported, citing local officials.
Citing television reports and eyewitnesses, the report added that a fire along a portion of the gas pipeline damaged buildings and burned the victims to death.
"The situation is very bad ... 14 people were burnt alive and 20 have been admitted to hospital with injuries," Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, finance minister for the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, where the plant is located, told Reuters.
Update as of 12:55 a.m. EDT: At least 13 people are dead from the pipeline blast at state-run GAIL's Andhra Pradesh plant in southern India, Reuters reported, citing company officials.
"As per the information received from the GAIL official at the site there are 13-14 casualties," a GAIL spokeswoman said, Reuters reported, adding that the victims were local residents.
Nearly 11 people are feared to have been killed in a blast in a gas pipeline operated by state-owned Gas Authority of India Limited, or GAIL, (BOM:532155) in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
While local police confirmed only three fatalities, media reports citing eyewitnesses said 11 people were burnt to death in the incident, which occurred in the early hours of Friday at GAIL’s plant in Nagaram village, 347 miles south of the state’s capital of Hyderabad. The blast, which also reportedly injured 15 people, followed a raging fire that began earlier due to a leak in one of the facility's pipelines.
“The reasons for the accident are not known yet. We are currently focused on rescue and relief operations,” B.C. Tripathi, GAIL’s chairman said, according to Press Trust of India. Indian authorities expect the death toll to rise, the PTI report added.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave condolences to the families of the people killed, and to those severely injured in the accident, on social networking site Twitter.
“My thoughts with the families of those who lost their lives in the GAIL Pipeline fire in AP (Andhra Pradesh). Prayers with the injured,” Modi tweeted, adding: “I have spoken to the Petroleum Minister, Cabinet Secretary & GAIL Chairman and asked them to ensure immediate relief at the accident site.”
The state government of Andhra Pradesh has ordered an inquiry into the accident and dispatched officials to supervise rescue operations.
“(I have) asked Dy CM Chinarajappa to go to the ONGC pipeline blast site and provide required support. We need a preventive plan to ensure safety,” Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu said, in a tweet, adding: “My condolences to the families who lost their loved ones in East Godavari blast. Ordered an enquiry & action plan to avoid these in future.”
The latest incident is the fourth gas leak in the country since March, when seven people died after toxic gas leaked from a dyeing unit in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. This was followed by another gas leak on June 5, when ammonia leaked from a cold storage plant in Tamil Nadu and left 54 people unconscious. On June 12, a gas leak at the Bhilai Steel Plant in the northern state of Chattisgarh killed six people and injured 30 others.