Explosion at Indian power plant kills 16, injures dozens

By BISWAJEET BANERJEE Markets Associated Press

At least 16 people were killed and dozens more injured in an explosion Wednesday at a thermal power plant in northern India, officials said.

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Sanjay Khatri, the area's top administrative officer, said a pipe carrying ash from the burning coal exploded in the newly installed boiler at the power plant in Unchahar in Uttar Pradesh state. The explosion spewed hot ash over workers at the plant.

The state's top administrative officer, Arvind Kumar, said 16 bodies had been recovered.

Police said the death toll is likely to increase because at least a dozen other workers suffered severe burns.

The 500-megawatt unit was operating on a trial basis.

Khatri said the cause of the accident wasn't immediately known. It also wasn't clear how many workers were in the plant at the time. Witnesses described a massive explosion and thick smoke rising from the plant.

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A team of government rescue workers was sent to the site.

Relatives of workers gathered outside the main gate of the power plant desperately seeking information, police officer Suresh Chandra said.

Industrial accidents are not unusual in India, where safety measures are often flouted.