Toll in pipe burst rises to four, another 4 missing

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Thiruvananthapuram, Sept 18 (UNI) The toll in yesterday's penstock pipe burst incident rose to four even as search operations were on in full swing this morning to trace four other missing persons.

The pipe was carrying water from Ponmudi reservoir to the power house at Panniyar in Idukki district.

Electricity Minister A K Balan told the State Assembly that all the victims were employees of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), who risked their lives to close the valve to stop the flow of water so as to avert a major disaster.

The deceased were identified as John Xavier, Shibu Ebraham, Sunny and Joby. The Assembly observed a minute's silence in their memory.

Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said it was an unfortunate incident and tomorrow's state Cabinet would take up the issue of providing financial assistance to the family members of the deceased.

Mr Balan said a preliminary enquiry had found that leak in the joint had resulted in the bursting of the penstock pipes, leading to the mishap. The situation would have turned worst if the employees could not close the valves.

Revenue Minister K P Rajendran said a top officil team was camping at the site to supervise the rescue operations by members of police, fire force, KSEB and revenue. A Navy helicopter would also reach there for rescue operations. A relief camp had already been opened and more people would be shifted to the camp today.


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