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India: Boiler blast at power plant kills several workers, injures scores

An explosion at a coal-fired power plant in northern India has killed at least 16 people and injured around 80. The blast reportedly occurred when a pipe in a newly-installed boiler burst, spewing hot ash on workers.

A boiler explosion at a state-run power plant in northern India killed several workers and injured scores of others, the company and government officials said on Wednesday.

The blast took place at a coal-fired plant operated by National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) in the town of Unchahar in Uttar Pradesh state.

At least 16 people died and 80 people were injured in the explosion, state police said. In a statement, NTPC said around 10 people sustained serious injuries.

The company and government officials noted that the death toll is likely to rise as several workers suffered severe burns.

Smoke billows from a coal-fired power plant after a boiler unit exploded in the town of Unchahar in northern India (Getty Images/AFP)

The explosion spewed a cloud of hot coal ash and steam over the plant workers

India's Minister of Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal wrote on Twitter that he was "deeply saddened by the accident" and extended his condolences to the families of those who were killed.

A pipe carrying ash from the burning coal exploded in the plant's newly-installed boiler, Sanjay Khatri, the area's top administrative officer, said. The blast spewed hot ash over the plant workers.

In their statement, NTPC said there was a "sudden abnormal sound" before an opening emerged in a pipe, followed by a release of flue gases and steam.

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The company said an enquiry has been launched "to investigate the reasons for the accident." The Unchahar plant has been shut down in the meantime.

NTPC is India's largest power utility and the plant in Uttar Pradesh is among its main units.

rs/jm (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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