Body of one worker retrieved from stone quarry accident site

The toll in the accident at a private stone quarry at Adaimithippaankulam in Tirunelveli district has risen to two, with National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel retrieving a decomposed body on Monday.

The deceased was identified as Murugan, 23, a lorry cleaner from Aayankulam.

Throughout the day, intermittent landslips hampered the operation to rescue those trapped inside the 300-ft. quarry following a rockslide on Saturday night.

In all, six persons were trapped under the debris. Two of them were rescued, and a third person, Selvam, died hours after being pulled out of the rubble on Sunday. The body retrieved on Monday night was brought up, where the family members of two trapped lorry drivers — P. Rajendran and M. Selvakumar — and Murugan were waiting to identify it.

Though the 30-member squad from the NDRF’s Arakkonam base arrived here on Sunday after an arduous 10-hour journey, they had to wait till dawn to start the search and rescue operation after completing preliminary preparations at night.

Even as they were continuing their operation, braving the heat and humidity, minor landslips occurred intermittently. However, the personnel continued their efforts, which led to the spotting of one of the trapped persons under the rubble near an earthmover and a tipper lorry around noon.

Revenue Secretary Kumar Jayant and District Collector V. Vishnu also arrived at the quarry and were briefed about the challenges the rescuers were facing.

The operation to extricate the man under the rubble began around 5 p.m. It did not yield results till 8.45 p.m.

The police stationed at the quarry had a tough time dealing with the representatives of political parties, including the Naam Thamizhar Katchi and several splinter caste outfits, who questioned the delay in the rescue operation.

Even though entry into the quarry was restricted by the police, the groups barged into the site of the accident.

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