Karunagapally (Kerala): One person was killed and four seriously injured early Thursday when a lorry carrying natural gas lost control after it hit a car and turned over in a blaze of fire on a national highway that had to be cordoned off.
The accident, in which 19 others were injured, took place on the National Highway 47, 85 km from state capital Thiruvananthapuram.
Eyewitnesses said the lorry burst into flames after it hit a car travelling in front.
The dead person has been identified as 32-year-old Rashid, police said.
Five police officials and some fire personnel also suffered burn injuries. "A police jeep that arrived at the scene went up in flames. Those living in the vicinity have been evacuated and several fire engines are now trying to douse the flames," said an eyewitness, adding that there were concerns the entire lorry might explode.
The highway was cordoned off after the accident.
State Agriculture Minister Mulakara Ratnakaran, who was on his way to the accident site, said the state government had made elaborate arrangements at hospitals in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram and had earmarked special wards to treat the injured.
"Our aim now is to see that no more explosions take place at the accident site. We do not have the technology at the moment to tackle this sort of accident, and now we will seriously consider getting the latest fire fighting equipment to tackle these types of emergencies," said Ratnakaran.