Two persons ' a labourer and a contractor ' were found dead in a tank during cleaning work at Indian Oil's Kamdhenu petrol pump at Dhansar, about 3km from Dhanbad district headquarters, on Friday afternoon. The incident occurred around 2.30pm.
The dead are Ramesh Sharma (35) and private contractor Birbal Sharma (52), a resident of Naya Bazar in Dhanbad. The duo had entered the dry tank, having a depth of 15 feet and diameter of 11 feet and with the capacity to store around 10,000 liltres of fuel, for regular cleaning work.
Dhanbad DSP (law and order) Amit Kumar said prima facie, it appeared the duo died of suffocation due to emission of methane gas in the tank. "But the exact reason can be ascertained only after post-mortem, which will be conducted on Saturday," he added.
"The contractor, who was waiting outside, got worried when he didn't hear any noise coming from the tank around 2.30pm. He climbed in to check what was wrong. When the two did not come out after about 10-15 minutes we rushed to the tank and found them lying unconscious inside," said a worker.
Bank More police were informed and a team, led by OC Ramesh Kumar, went to the spot and tried to bring out the two but failed. Consequently, an SOS was sent to the rescue station of BCCL at Bastacola.
Two rescue workers entered the tank around 3pm and brought out Ramesh and Birbal about half an hour. They were rushed to a nearby nursing home but were referred to Central Hospital, where they were declared brought dead around 4pm.
Dhanbad MP P.N. Singh, who visited the spot, said adequate safety measures ought to have been taken. He also said prompt rescue operation could have saved the duo. General secretary of Dhanbad Petroleum Dealers' Association Sanjeev Rana said cleaning of the tank was carried out by private contractors.