Himansu Shekhar Rout

The death toll in the tragic cracker explosion during Chandan Yatra in Puri mounted to nine after two more persons succumbed to their injuries on Saturday. 

As per sources, some patients are so severely affected by burn injuries that they are beyond recognition. Meanwhile, their DNA samples have reportedly been sent for testing to establish their identity.

As per reports, six-year-old Pratikhya Sahu died this morning while she was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar. A day before, her father Hemanta Sahu succumbed to burn injuries.  Besides, another patient identified as Shankar Behera from Arakhakudar in the Bramhagiri area also died on Saturday.

There are still 21 burn patients under treatment at different hospitals in the state while many of them have sustained 90 to 95 per cent burns. 

Their condition is stated to be critical and their identities have not been established yet. As per sources, the hospital authorities have sent DNA samples of these critical patients for testing.    

The explosion happened during the ‘Chapa Khela' of the Holy Trinity in the Narendra pond during the Chandan Yatra on May 29. 
The incident occurred when sparkles from exploded crackers fell on a pile of crackers on the Devi ghat side of the pond. Scores of devotees gathered there to watch the water sports in the holy pond. Many devotees jumped into the pond to save their lives.

SRC to begin probe on June 5

Meanwhile, the Additional Special Relief Commissioner has written a letter to the Puri Collector that the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) will investigate the incident on June 5 at the Puri special circuit house from 3 pm to 7 pm. 
The District Collector, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), the Puri SP, the assistant fire officer, eyewitnesses and others have been asked to be present during the investigation.

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