Nine people died and eight were injured Thursday night when fire broke out at a hydro-electric power plant in south central India, local media report.
Only 17 workers were on duty at the 900-megawatt Srisailam Left Bank Hydel Power Station in Telangana at the time of the fire.
At about 10:30 p.m. thick smoke engulfed the facility, trapping many inside the underground facility. Several had time to call family before perishing. Others recorded video of their attempts to extinguish the fire that overcame them.
Due to the thick smoke responders were unable to reach the fatalities until nearly 16 hours after the fire broke out. One of those who died had only recently returned to work two weeks earlier after fighting COVID-19.
The Telangana State Power Generation Corporation has established a committee to investigate the fire and determine a cause. Plans call for restarting at least two units of the plant within the next two weeks.
A criminal probe into the fire is being conducted by the government.