The death toll from a sewer gas explosion in Karachi, Pakistan, grew to 17 on December 19 as some critically injured people died overnight and two more bodies were recovered in the debris left from the blast, police said.
Twelve people initially were reported dead after the explosion on December 18 in a sewage system in the commercial hub of Pakistan. Authorities have ruled out terrorism as the cause.
They are instead focusing on building-code violations. Many sewage channels in the country’s biggest city have been covered by concrete structures built illegally over them.
Senior police officer Sarfaraz Nawaz Shaikh said the loss of lives and property could be blamed on human error in allowing construction over the sewer.
The blast destroyed the HBL bank building constructed over the sewer and damaged a nearby gas station. The bank building was one of several ordered to be vacated after violating building laws, according to Mukhtar Abro, a local administrator.
An investigative team quoted by the news outlet Dawn.com said the blast occurred due to the release of gases from the sewage line beneath the building housing the bank and another office.
“This report and an examination of the site showed that the bank and the other office were constructed on the sewage line illegally and continuous leaking of gases from the [drain] caused this incident,” the investigators said, according to Dawn.com.