Gas cylinder explosion in India’s premier government lab kills 1 person, wounds 3 more

The interior of the building housing the IISc Department of Aerospace Engineering, photographed in 2011. Credit: Mohammadulhaque.

The interior of the building housing the IISc Department of Aerospace Engineering, photographed in 2011. Credit: Mohammadulhaque.

Contributed by K. V. Venkatasubramanian, special to C&EN.

A gas cylinder blast in a laboratory at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) on Dec. 5 killed one researcher and left three others grievously wounded.

The researchers were working in the Laboratory for Hypersonic and Shock Wave Research, which was established in the 1970s to study shock waves.

Vikram Jayaram, head of IISc’s internal investigation team, told C&EN on Dec. 31 that the explosion involved cylinders containing hydrogen-oxygen mixtures that are used to generate controlled shock waves in a protected, closed container to study granite fragmentation for purposes such as mining and oil recovery. “At this stage of the inquiry, all indications are that adequate safety precautions were employed,” Jayaram said.

Manoj Kumar, 32, died instantly. Naresh Kumar, Atulya Uday Kumar, and Karthik Shenoy were hospitalized. All were project engineers employed by start-up Super-Wave Technology, an IISc initiative managed by aerospace engineering professors K. P. J. Reddy and G. Jagadeesh. The company researches shock waves and their applications.

Police booked the two professors on Dec. 6 on charges of causing death due to negligence and for causing grievous injuries by acts endangering the lives and personal safety of others.

UPDATE: This story was revised on Dec. 31, 2018, to incorporate new information from Vikram Jayaram.

Author: Jyllian Kemsley

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2 Comments

  1. The sound of the explosion could be heard till the Ramaiah Campus. We were in class when we heard the sound. To think it was a cylinder explosion that claimed the life of a fellow researcher is extremely painful. May he rest in peace :’3

  2. If safety was ensured why this it’s not an fair explanation just to avoid situation if safety was there what noms are followed can you please explain please do not play with people life we are sure damage to the family cannot be filled but proper enquiry should happen from third party not internal and negleance officer should be booked and department head should answer all this coming out not sitting in AC room mind it
    But my condolences to the family may the body rest in peace and will pray for others wonded for speedy recovery thanks god bless them all.