Some Indian workers are among 23 people killed in a major blast in a ceramic factory in Sudan's capital Khartoum, the central government said on Wednesday. Over 130 people are also injured in the explosion. Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, in a tweet, said an Indian embassy representative has been rushed to the accident site.
"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. Deeply grieved to learn that some Indian workers have lost their lives while some others have been seriously injured," he tweeted.
"The Embassy representative has rushed to the site. A 24-hour emergency hotline +249-921917471 has been set up by @EoI_Khartoum. Embassy is also putting out updates on social media. Our prayers are with the workers and their families," he added.
He informed 60 Indians were employed at the company and 53 present at the time of the accident.
Sadly, we have reports of fatalities among Indian workers and we are trying to ascertain the numbers.— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) December 4, 2019
The injured have been admitted at Al-Amal Hospital, Omdurman Teaching Hospital and Ibrahim Malik Hospital.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his anguish over the accident.
Anguished by the blast in a ceramic factory in Sudan, where some Indian workers have lost their lives and some are injured. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and prayers with the injured. Our Embassy is providing all possible assistance to those affected.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 4, 2019
The factory had over 50 employees from India, news agency AFP reported.
Thick plumes of black smoke billowed into the sky after the blaze broke out at a tile manufacturing unit in an industrial zone of north Khartoum, witnesses said.
"The explosion was loud. Several cars parked in the compound of the factory also caught fire," an employee of an adjacent factory told AFP at the scene as firefighters doused the blaze.
"A fire erupted in an industrial area because of which 23 people were killed and more than 130 injured," the Sudan government said in a statement.
"A blast in a gas tanker triggered the fire," it added.
Preliminary reports from the scene indicate that necessary safety equipment was missing at the site, the Sudan government said.
The Indian embassy has issued a detailed list of Indians who were hospitalised, went missing or survived the tragedy. As per its data, 7 people have been hospitalised, with four in critical condition.
With inputs from AFP, PTI