KARACHI - At least seven persons were found dead in an under-ground tank of a chemical factory in Korangi area of the metropolis on Sunday afternoon, police said.

Besides, the factory owner and his young son were also among the victims.

The pickle factory where the unfortunate incident occurred is situated at the Darussalam Cooperative Housing Society in Korangi’s Allah Wala Town within the premises of Korangi Industrial Area Police Station.

The bodies found from an underground chemical tank where different kinds of chemicals are stored for making pickle. Residents of the area said that the factory was established in the area around fifteen years ago but no such incident occurred ever. They said that 45-year-old Mehtab is a resident of Delhi Colony. “Those who lost their lives in the tragic incident were the relatives of Mehtab,” said a neighbour, Shaukat Ali.

The incident came into the notice of the residents after one of the employees came out of the factory while shouting and informed the residents about the tragedy. The residents immediately called on 15 to inform about the incident.

Police and rescuers from different welfare associations retrieved the bodies from the water tank. “Parts of the bodies turned into black and blue because of the chemical reaction.”

The rescue workers shifted the bodies to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre for autopsies. The victims were identified as Adnan, his father, Saleem, Sohail, Nawab and Imran. According to the JPMC's joint executive director Dr Seemin Jamali, all the seven men had succumbed to suffocation or burn injuries before reaching the hospital.

“It appeared that the men had died from suffocation due to poisonous chemical gases but the cause of the death could only be confirmed following post-mortem examination.”

Though the postmortem have been carried out to ascertain the nature of the death while so far, it remained unclear if the men had fallen inside the tank accidently or had been dumped there by someone; however, the police officials while quoting the initial investigations termed it an accident.

SP Afnan Amin said that one of the employees, Adnan had fallen inside the tank and later his father went inside the tank through ladder to rescue him but he also fell down. Similarly, the other employees also fell one by one while trying to save each other, he added. The officer said that it is premature to say anything about the incident as the investigations were at preliminary level.

Though the factory was established in the residential area, the police officials said that it was also being verified either the factory was legal or illegal or how it was established in the residential area.

The police have also detained a watchman, Taj Muhammad and three employees of the factory present there at the time of tragedy.

PM expresses concern, seeks report

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Sunday expressed his concern over the recovery of seven dead bodies from a factory in Karachi.

He asked the authorities concerned to submit a report to him and identify the culprits responsible for this crime. The PM also extended condolences to the families of the deceased.