15 electrocuted in India’s Chamoli after transformer explosion


This still taken from an Indian local media shows people busy in a rescue mission after fifteen people died in an electrocution incident in the Indian state of Uttarakhand on July 19, 2023. — Screengrab/YouTube/Times of India
  • State’s CM Dhami orders an enquiry into the incident.
  • Police say 15 people have also been injured in accident.
  • Transformer explosion electrified bridge that spans river.

At least fifteen people were electrocuted Wednesday after a transformer exploded on the banks of the Alaknanda River in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, officials said.

An investigation has been launched to find the reason behind the unfortunate disaster.

Among the fifteen dead in the accident — which occurred in the Chamoli district — are a police officer and five home guards, according to the local authorities.

The state’s chief minister, Pushkar Singh Dhami, directed officials to initiate an enquiry into the incident.

He said rescue teams, including the district administration and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), have already reached the spot. 

“For those severely injured, we are taking the help of helicopters to refer them to higher centres,” said Dhami in a video statement, quoted by local media.

Police said at least 15 people have also been severely injured in the accident and they are being treated at the district’s main hospital.

“The incident took place last night but was reported to them Wednesday morning,” Chamoli’s superintendent of police Pramendra Dobhal said.

“We got a call from the village that a watchman had died of electrocution. When the police went to check they found that 21 people had been electrocuted and severely injured. Fifteen people died in hospital and the rest are critical,” Dhobal said.

Dhami said: “Emergency personnel have arrived at the scene. For those severely injured, we are taking the help of helicopters to refer them to higher centres.”

According to media reports, the transformer exploded and electrified the bridge spanning the river.

Additional Director General of Police, Uttarakhand, V Murugesan said: “Around 15 people including a police sub-inspector and three home guards have died. An investigation is underway. 

Prima Facie reveals that there was current on the railing and the investigation will reveal further details.”

Meanwhile, Incessant rainfall in the hilly and plain areas in Uttarakhand for the past nine days has resulted in an increase in water levels of the rivers and the SDRF teams have been told to remain on high alert, authorities said.

Electrocution in India is common due to poor electricity infrastructure and safety measures, causing such devastating accidents. 

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