3 containers exploded at Karadiyanaru belonged to a Chinese company in Sri Lanka
The explosion had taken place when two Chinese nationals of the construction company had come in a double cab and two dump trucks to obtain explosives from three containers which were parked at the Karadiyanaru police station.
According to sources one dump truck had blasted and due to a sympathetic detonation all the containers had exploded.
Contrary to earlier figures a senior Defense Ministry official said that the total death toll of the Karadiyanaru accidental explosion is 19.
Amongst the dead are 10 police officers, 7 civilians and two Chinese nationals (Chinese engineer & his staff officer). 44 people are said to be injured have been rushed to the batticaloa government hospital, while 4 critically injured persons have air lifted to Colombo.
The trucks belonged to two private construction companies that were carrying infrastructure development and road construction projects in Batticaloa, police said. One is a Chinese company, the China Overseas Engineering Group Company Ltd. The other is V V Karunaratna and Company, police said.
The two trucks were parked at the police station for safety because they contained dynamite sticks.
They were to be used by engineers for rock blasting and road construction, police said. The blast had taken place around 11.30 a.m. The trucks were being moved from where they were parked when they exploded.
The Chinese nationals were inside the truck. One was an engineer and the other was a second staff officer. Both were employees of the China Overseas Engineering Pvt. Ltd, company sources said.
The heads of China Overseas Company were present at the hospital to receive the bodies. Military spokesman Major General Ubaya Medawala told the Daily News that a special team led by a government analyst was sent to the area to determine the cause of the accident.
“We can clearly state this is an accident,” he said.
The Karadiyanaru police station was reduced to rubble after the explosion.
Police sources said DIG Eastern Range Thilak Wijegunawardena, who was in Colombo for an official meeting had gone to Batticaloa as soon as he heard about the blast. The number of deaths and the cause of the explosion will be announced based on the report of government analyst, said Madawala.