Chikkaballapur (Karnataka), Feb 23 — The lone survivor in the Chikkaballapur mine blast case, Riyaz, the driver of the vehicle that carried explosive materials on Tuesday, said that his ‘sleeping habit’ saved him from getting killed in the accidental mine blast.
In the wee hours of Tuesday, five persons were killed in a gelatin stick blast in the Hirenagavalli hamlet in Chikkaballapur district in Karnataka.
The tragedy struck just a month after a similar mishap was reported from Shivamogga district where six labourers died in a quarry site due to an accidental explosion of a similar nature.
Riyaz told reporters that he was asleep when he received a call from one of the mine representatives, who told him to bring the vehicle immediately.
“As I was in sleep when I received the call, I pleaded with him that I would come early in the morning. But the representative insisted that either I should come or refer someone else’s number who can take the material. Hearing this, I did not want to lose my long time customer, hence I unwillingly decided to go with them,” he said.
According to Riyaz, when he reached the spot, five persons were ready with ‘some materials’ in two plastic gunny bags. “As I had no interest, I did not bother to ask them what they were carrying. When I asked them where to go, one of them told me to drive towards Keresandra, a nearby forest area. As our vehicle approached the secluded place, one of them asked me to stop. Hearing this, I just applied the brakes and they got down with the materials and got into a wide pit in Keresandra,” he said.
Riyaz added that though one of them asked him to accompany them, he just refused, saying that he wanted to catch some sleep, and they could wake him up on their return.
“Although I told them that I was feeling sleepy, due to curiosity, I woke up and started walking towards them. That is when the blast occurred. I could not figure out what it was, as due to the impact of the blast I was thrown at a distance because of which I lost my consciousness for about 45 minutes to an hour. When I regained my consciousness, I could not see any bodies. As I was terrified, I just came back home and was admitted to the hospital by my family members,” Riyaz said.