Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia
At least 24 COVID-19 patients died reportedly due to low oxygen supply after an oxygen tanker leaked on Wednesday, 21 April, outside Dr Zakir Hussain Hospital in Nashik, Maharashtra.
The incident caused the oxygen supply to be disrupted for 30 minutes.
Police on Thursday registered an FIR against unnamed persons in connection with the incident.
All those who died in the incident were reportedly COVID-19 patients on ventilators and required a constant supply of oxygen. The hospital was housing approximately 170 patients.
What Led to the Accident?
According to Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope, the incident took place due to leakage in the valves of the tanker. However, the exact cause is yet unknown.
“This is an unfortunate incident. I spoke to Nashik municipal commissioner who has informed me that the situation is under control now. I will be going to Nashik soon. Nashik Guardian Minister Chhagan Bhujbal has already gone there,” Tope told ANI.
Later in the evening, Nashik Mayor Satish Kulkarni was quoted by ANI as saying: “There was no negligence by the Corporation. A high-level committee has been set up to probe the incident.”
Calling the incident unfortunate, Maharashtra FDA minister Dr Rajendra Shingane said that an inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the exact cause of the incident.
“We have ordered an inquiry as well. Those who are responsible will not be spared,” he said, as quoted by ANI.
Maharashtra CM Thackeray Announces Ex-Gratia, Orders Probe
The Maharashtra Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to be provided to kin of the deceased. A high-level inquiry has been ordered to probe the incident.
The incident comes amid reports of a crippling shortage of oxygen in many states and hospitals of India.
PM Modi, Other Leaders Express Condolences
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to call the tragedy “heart-wrenching.”
Home Minister Amit Shah took to Twitter to say: “I am saddened by the news of the mishap at a hospital in Nashik after an oxygen leak. I offer my deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones. I pray to god for the well-being of other patients.”
Meanwhile, former Maharashtra CM and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis termed the incident terrible and disturbing. “I demand that the other patients be helped and shifted if needed. We demand a detailed inquiry,” he told ANI.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor called the incident “tragic beyond words.”
Vice President of BJP’s Maharashtra unit, Kirit Somaiya called the incident a health risk for patients.
(With inputs from ANI and NDTV.)