Gas tank on the roof of the outlet explodes
Ministry sets up probe committee
At least 11 people were killed and 35 injured, including a woman and a child, in a huge gas tank explosion in a Turkish restaurant in a petrol station complex behind the Landmark Mall yesterday morning.
All the dead were Asians, including five Indians, four Nepalese and two Filipinos.
The (Istanbul) restaurant building collapsed under the impact of the explosion, which led to the high casualties, the Ministry of Interior said. The cause of the blast was not immediately known. The tank belonged to Woqod.
A Woqod official claimed that there was no safety lapse on the part of the company and the tank involved had been properly inspected.
|The Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani is briefed at the site of the explosion|
The Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani visited the site.
The Interior Ministry announced the formation of a special committee to investigate the incident. The panel comprises representatives from the ministry, Lekhwiya and Woqod.
The blast at 10.12am was the second major incident in Qatar after a fire in Villaggio Mall killed 19 people in 2012.
The fatalities yesterday included seven employees of the neighbouring Tasty restaurant, which was also damaged.
In a statement, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) said 11 people were killed and 35 injured. The toll was confirmed by the ministry.
“Thirty-five patients are being treated at Hamad General Hospital, one of them is in a critical condition, the others are stable,” HMC said.
Among those receiving treatment include two female patients — a woman and a child.
Those remaining admitted at the hospital include one Qatari, 12 Indians, nine Nepalese, five Pakistanis, two from the Philippines, two from Egypt and one each from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Yemen and Tunisia, said HMC.
Public Security Director General Staff Major General Saad bin Jassim Al Khulaifi told a press conference in the afternoon that the victims were restaurant staff and customers as well as passers-by. Shrapnel after the explosion scattered 50 meters away. The blast led to a small fire, which was contained swiftly, he said.
He added that the deaths occurred due to the explosion rather than a resulting “limited” fire.
Preliminary investigations suggested a gas tank on the roof of a Turkish food restaurant and gas cylinders on neighbouring roofs had exploded, the Qatar News Agency reported.
Three fire control units, including 15 multifunctional vehicles, were dispatched to the spot. Civil Defence personnel arrived eight minutes after the incident was reported, said Brigadier Hamad Al Duhaimi, Director of Operations at General Directorate of Civil Defence.
“Concerned agencies inspected the whole area and searched for the missing people, even at the neighbouring stores and the external areas which were not effected to ensure all are safe in the surrounding areas. All associated agencies are taking part in the investigation to find out the cause of the incident,” said Al Duhaimi.
A 60-strong search and rescue team of Lekhwiya used 18 vehicles for the operation. Trained police dogs were also used to look for any victims under the collapsed building.
The Technical Director of Woqod, Hajji Al Rumaihi, told the press conference that company officials were at the site isolating gas tanks within the explosion range and protecting them from hazards.
“The Woqod conducts periodical inspection of all gas tanks in all restaurants and expert engineers ensure inspection procedures have been carried out by approved companies. We never allow anybody to fix any product that is not approved by Woqod. All equipment of this restaurant and the tank were inspected on January 15. For additional safety, Woqod had fixed a gas detector on the top of the restaurant, beside the tank,” Al Rumaihi said.
Staff Maj. Gen. Saad bin Jassim Al Khulaifi said investigation continues and the ministry has asked the Woqod to carry out a technical probe into the blast. He said the committee formed to investigate the explosion will also assess the losses caused by the blast.
5 Indians: Riyas
4 Nepalese: Durga
Bahadur Karki, Man
2 Filipinos: Sherli
1 Sri Lankan