At least eight persons were killed in a dynamite blast at a railway crusher site in Karnataka's Hunasodu village in the Shivamogga district on Friday, district collector KB Shivakumar told news agency ANI.
The massive explosion took place near a gravel and boulder crushing facility around 10.30 pm, sending shockwaves not only in Shivamogga, but also in neighbouring Chikkamagaluru and Davangere districts, according to news agency PTI. An eye witness said the blast was so strong that window panes shattered while many houses and even roads developed cracks.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the death of blast victims. "Pained by the loss of lives in Shivamogga. Condolences to the bereaved families. Praying that the injured recover soon. The State Government is providing all possible assistance to the affected," his said in a tweet.
The jolt was earlier mistaken to have been caused by an earthquake, following which geologists were approached, who ruled out recording tremors in any of their observatories.
"There was no earthquake. But an explosion did take place at Hunsur on the outskirts of Shivamogga under the Rural Police station limits," a police officer told PTI.
Another police officer said, "There has been a blast in a truck carrying gelatin. Six labourers in the truck were found dead. The vibrations were felt locally." He added that the death toll might increase.
The victims were reportedly transporting the explosives meant for mining when the explosion occurred. The vehicle was badly mangled and the bodies of the victims were dismembered beyond recognition.
Senior district and police officials including the superintendent of police of Shivamogga rushed to the spot.