New Delhi, – The death toll in the blast at an explosives factory in southern India has been estimated at 19, police said Friday.

A fire followed the blast at the privately owned factory in Tamil Nadu state’s Tiruchirappalli district on Thursday morning, prompting rescue operations by police and local agencies.

The factory collapsed under the impact of the explosion, which was heard as far as 5 kilometres away.

“The explosion was so huge that there is debris all around and it is difficult to find bodies,” local police officer said.

“Only two bodies were found intact, but more body parts were found in the premises. The toll, at 19, is estimated from the list of the missing given by relatives of workers,” he said.

State authorities have ordered a probe into the accident. Preliminary investigations showed that the blast could have occurred while the workers were packing the explosives.

The factory manufactured gelatin to be used in road and other construction projects. Explosive experts were at the factory premises to defuse any unexploded gelatin sticks.

Source: Qatar News Agency