A CCTV camera footage from a nearby commercial building showed the moving vehicle suddenly engulfed in smoke and coming to a halt. The vehicle however appeared not to have received much damage.
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The low-intensity explosion initially sounded like that of a cracker, said Subhash Shetty, a vegetable shop owner, who was among the eyewitnesses to the blast in Mangaluru on November 19 evening.
Mr. Shetty told reporters on Sunday that people in the area also suspected that the blast could have been due to leakage of LPG in the autorickshaw.
Hearing the sound, he and a few others rushed towards the autorickshaw. “But when we saw explosive material and some circuits burning, we got suspicious and informed the nearby Kankanady town police after moving the autorickshaw to a side from the busy Pumpwell-Padil Main Road,” Mr. Shetty said.
He said the autorickshaw driver, Purushottam, a resident of Ujjodi, is known to him. He had left the Mangaluru Junction railway station when a passenger got into the autorickshaw at Ujjodi. After a few minutes, there was fire and later white smoke engulfed the autorickshaw.
“When we came near the autorikshaw, the driver had burnt his hair. The passenger, who was wearing two shirts, had burnt his hands. We arranged to shift the two injured persons to a private hospital in Kankanandy,” Mr. Shetty said. There was not much traffic when the incident occurred, he added.