Indian power plant explosion kills 26

Lucknow—An explosion at an Indian power plant on Wednesday killed at least 26 workers and seriously burned dozens of others, police said.

The blast occurred at a coal-fired power plant, located in Raebareli district of Uttar Pradesh and is run by the government-owned National Thermal Power Corporation.

Images showed thick grey plumes of smoke rising into the sky before ambulances rushed to the scene.

“Raebareli #NTPC death toll increases to 26,” the official Uttar Pradesh police Twitter account posted late Wednesday.The state’s principal secretary, Arvind Kumar, said up to 100 were injured in the explosion, according to the Press Trust of India.

Anand Kumar, a director-general of police in the state capital Lucknow, said preliminary findings suggested that ash had collected in the furnace below the boiler, causing the explosion.”Ash had accumulated for some reason which should not have happened. And due to that, pressure built up inside and led to the blast,” he said in a video statement uploaded on YouTube.

The state operator said there was a “sudden abnormal sound” at one of the units in the plant.

“An enquiry has been set up by NTPC management to investigate the reasons for the accident,” it said in a statement late Wednesday. “All possible measures are being taken to provide immediate relief to the families of affected people in close coordination with the district administration.”

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath offered his condolences to the families of the dead and offered each compensation of 200,000 Indian rupees ($3,096).

Workplace accidents are common in India, where poor safety standards and lax enforcement of regulations have led to horrific deaths.India’s power distribution system is prone to accidents, mostly because of poor maintenance and underfunding in rural areas.

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