At least 18 Indians may have been killed in a liquefied petroleum gas tanker blast at a ceramic factory in Sudan, the Indian embassy at Khartoum said on Wednesday. The incident occurred on Tuesday at the Seela Ceramic Factory in Bahri area of the national capital Khartoum.
“As per latest reports, but so far not confirmed officially, 18 are dead,” the embassy said in a statement. “Some of the missing may be in the list of dead which we are still to receive as identification is not possible because of the bodies being burnt.” More than 50 Indian workers were reportedly working at the factory, according to the embassy.
The Indian embassy also released a list of Indians who were hospitalised or had gone missing after the episode. At least seven people were admitted to hospitals, and four are in a critical condition.
Among those caught in the accident, 34 Indians survived and were accommodated at the Saloomi Ceramics Factory residence, the embassy said.
The Sudanese government said that 23 people were killed in the fire at the industrial area and more than 130 received injuries. “A blast in a gas tanker triggered the fire,” AFP quoted the administration as saying.
“There were also inflammable materials improperly stored, which led to the spread of the fire,” the government said, adding that an inquiry was initiated in the case.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday offered his condolences, following reports of the blast. “Have just received the tragic news of a major blast in a ceramic factory ‘Saloomi’ in the Bahri area of the capital Khartoum in Sudan,” he tweeted. “Deeply grieved to learn that some Indian workers have lost their lives while some others have been seriously injured.” Jaishankar said representatives from the embassy had reached the site and a 24-hour emergency helpline had been set up.