Three sanitation workers died and one is battling for life at a city-based hospital, after inhaling toxic fumes in a sewer pipe they had gone to clean at Lajpat Nagar in south Delhi on Sunday afternoon.
Police said sanitation workers were engaged in cleaning a line near the Kabir Ram Mandir, when they inhaled toxic fumes which made them unconscious.
According to eyewitness account two labourers got suffocated to death trying to save the first victim.
Police have identified two victims as Joginder, 32, Annu, 28. While the third victim is yet to be identified.
Police said the four after being pulled out from the sewer in unconscious state were rushed to AIIMS for medical attention. The doctors of the hospital announced three to be brought dead and the fourth’s condition as critical.
One of the the eyewitness said, “I rushed to the incident site to see what was wrong. On peeping through the manhole I saw a man lying in unconscious state.”
He added that another labourer jumped inside the sewer to help the first victim. “Within seconds the second man died of suffocation,” added one of the eyewitnesses.
The eyewitness told the media that third victim was on verge of jumping inside the sewer when he was stopped by the crowd there.
According to other eyewitnesses a rope was arranged and so that third rescuer could be pulled out safely in case of any untoward incident but the rescuer did not tie the rope and jumped into the sewer holding the rope. “As he moved down within seconds he too was unconscious,” said an eyewitness.
People managed to save the fourth rescuer as he was pulled out of the sewer when he showed discomfort signs.
In a similar kind of incident four sanitation workers were suffocated to death in south Delhi’s Ghitorni last month.