-- 17 others injured
--Death toll may increase
--All the deceased aged between 7-14
--The gas cylinder used for inflating balloons
At least five children were killed and 17 others injured critically as a gas cylinder, used for inflating balloons, exploded near a school in Rupnagar Residential area of Dhaka this afternoon.
The deceased were identified as Shahin,10, Ramjan, 8, Jannat, 14, Nupur, 7 and Farzana, 9. Most of the victims are inhabitants of a nearby slum and some are their relatives, locals said.
The gas cylinder exploded when a vendor was inflating balloons on Road No. 11 near Monipur School around 3:00 pm, leaving the five dead on the spot and 17 others critically injured, Abdul Kalam Azad, officer-in-charge (OC) Rupnagar Police Station, told The Daily Star.
Of the injured, 15 were admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital while two were admitted to Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital, the hospital sources said.
The children gathered there to buy balloons, the police official said adding that the death toll may increase.
A witness said he saw 10 to 12 children lying on the ground after the blast. Then, they informed the matter to the police and took the injured to hospital, he said.
A man was selling balloons to children since 11:30 am, said Sharif Mahmud, a local who witnessed the incident. “I saw the babies lying in a pool of blood,” he added.
An official of fire service and civil defence said the bodies were mutilated in the gas cylinder explosion.
Anwar Hossain, senior station officer of Mirpur Fire Service, said they handed over five bodies--three females and two males -- to police.
Uttam Kumar Barua, director of Suhrawardy Medical Medical College Hosptial, said 12 people were taken to the hospital. Of them, five were dead and two were shifted to the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital.