Seven workers died while cleaning a drainage tank at Venkateswara Hatcheries in Morram village, Palamaneru mandal in Chittoor district on Friday. In a bid to save fellow workers, others entered the tank, which was full of toxic gases.
The deceased were identified as M. Ramesh, 32, G. Govinda Swamy, 35, B. Ramachandra, 23, A. Reddeppa, 30, R. Babu, 30, Keshav, 20 and B. Venkata Rajulu, 23. Siva Kumar Reddy is fighting for his life in hospital and doctors say the next 48 hours will be crucial.
The deaths were caused by lack of oxygen in the tank. An eight member team began the clean up of the drainage tank of the hatchery. Reddeppa went into the tank first, getting down with the help of a ladder.
When he did not emerge, another person went in. To help the two, a third person entered the tank. This went on till all seven were inside the lethal tank. Siva Kumar Reddy, the only one who is still alive, entered last and shouted for help when he saw what had happened. He was pulled out and taken to CMC hospital at Vellore in Tamil Nadu.
The tank is where the faecal matter and other waste from the hatchery is sent. It is then pumped out with water by a machine installed inside the tank. As something obstructed the water flow, the workers were sent to clean it. The management of the company told the police that the deceased had entered the tank without the knowledge of the company’s supervisors.