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Mangaluru: Poisonous gas caused deaths of three security guards - Forensic experts

Mohan Kuthar
Daijiworld Media Network – Mangaluru (EP)


Mangaluru, Nov 7: Inhalation of poisonous gas has been ascertained as the cause of deaths of three security men of Kotekar service cooperative bank on K C Road late night on Monday, November 6. The incident came to light on Tuesday November 7, and it was initially suspected that they may have died due to lightning strike.

Security guards of the bank Umesh (60), a resident of K C Road colony, Somanath (58), a resident of Kolya and Santhosh (40) of Manjanady were found dead on Tuesday morning.

They were on duty since Monday evening. The bank branch manager who came on duty in the morning saw the three men lying down, and assuming that they were sleeping, threw water on them. As none of them responded, it was confirmed that they were dead. The locals them informed the Ullal police station.

The shutter had been pulled down and bolted from the inside. It was broken in the presence of police, president and director for investigation. The three security guards had covered themselves with bed sheets, lying in different spots in the bank. There were no indications of the cause of their deaths. As the three men were lying on the floor, the likely cause was suspected to be lightning.

Investigations by forensics experts

A team led by Nitte University forensics division head Dr Mahabaleshwar Shetty which conducted investigations said that the men died due to inhalation of poisonous carbon monoxide gas. "There was no power at late night on Monday due to severe lightning, thunder, storm and rain. The three men who had slept after closing the windows were unable to sleep without fans. Therefore they started the generator. As they inhaled carbon monoxide emitted by the generator while they were asleep, they grew too weak and were unable to switch off the generator, which ultimately resulted in their death," said the doctors.

CCTV footage

The images in the CCTV show that the three men had eaten food together at around 8.30 pm. They were later talking to each other for about an hour, sitting on a bedsheet spread on the floor. They slept at around 9.30 pm and never got up. Though the CCTV and lights in the bank were on, the fans were not turning as those were not connected to the generator. Investigations have shown that they had started the generator to make the fans run, and then slept. It is therefore highly likely that they died due to suffocation.

Investigations under way: Commissioner

Police commissioner T Suresh said that investigations regarding the unnatural deaths are on, as there are no signs of anybody else's presence and nothing suspicious was found in the CCTV.

On June 23 this year, two men had entered this bank, tied tied up and gagged the now deceased guard Umesh in an attempt to rob 20 kg of gold worth Rs 5.5 crore. However, as the bank staff was alert they had thrown the gold and fled. The accused were later arrested.

Police commissioner T R Suresh, DCP Hanumantaraya, ACP K Ramarao, Ullal police inspector Gopikrishna and other police personnel conducted investigations and collected details.

K C Road colony resident Umesh (58) was working as security guard in the bank for the past eight years. He was a devotee of Ayyappa deity and often remained in Kotekar temple. He had come home on Monday evening and then gone to the bank at 7 pm on duty. He went to Sabarimala during the last three years and was supposed to go this year too. He is survived by two sons, Gangadhar and Sathish.

Somanatha (58) was working in a private security agency for the past one year. His own house at Kolya was acquired during widening of the road. He was staying with his relatives at Kasimbettu with the little money that he had got as compensation. His mother-in-law Devaki had died due to illness a week ago.

Somanath had been abroad before marriage, and after marriage began running an auto rickshaw at Beeri rickshaw park. He gave that up a year ago and started working as a security guard in the private agency. He leaves behind his wife and relatives.

Santhosh (42) leaves behind his wife and daughter. He had attended duty in the bank on Monday as requested by the agency. The agency then asked him to go to the bank's Deralakatte branch, but he could not due to incessant rain, thunder and lightning and had to remain in the bank.

Santosh had recently begun constructing a house near his wife's parental house. His wife Pushpa used to work as a tailor to supplement the income of her husband. Their daughter Yashaswini is a sixth standard student.

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Comment on this article

  • pasha, Karnataka

    Wed, Nov 8 2017

    There is a lack of regulation with regards to storing generators inside the house, offices, etc. in India. Safety awareness is totally lacking. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas which will cause you to become unconsciousness and subsequent death. We are only interested in Tipu Jayanti, gau rakshak, etc. Very sorry state of affairs.

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  • Vincent Rodrigues, Bengaluru/Katapadi

    Wed, Nov 8 2017

    Too bad news indeed due to the human negligence.Corrective steps need to be taken to stop this kind of incidence in future

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Rudolf Rodrigues, Mumbai

    Wed, Nov 8 2017

    Hypothesis of death by inhaling CO of all 3 people in the sleep, with none waking up due to discomfort, sounds too hard to digest!!

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mangalore

    Wed, Nov 8 2017

    This time George escaped 😁😁😁

    DisAgree [2] Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Robert Pais, Mangalore

    Wed, Nov 8 2017

    Clean breathing air is absolutely necessary.Always ensure there is direct access to outside air via a window.
    Never use a candle, generator, flame in a closed enclosure.
    The security company is liable to pay the families of deceased employees as they died during the duty and we're not properly trained.
    The company should also be fined heavily by the government as they failed to follow proper safety procedures.

    Ever wonder when you inhale the half burnt desiel fumes from buses you get a good dose of carbon monoxide along with cancer causing, asthma causing chemicals.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • sri_elder, Karkala

    Wed, Nov 8 2017

    Man made tragedy...

    DisAgree Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rita, Germany

    Wed, Nov 8 2017

    sad to hear they died of carbon monoxyd.Usually they are supposed to be awake as security or not?It as their bad fate ,all of them died .I cant understand how manager found them sleeping ,without trying to wake them up throw water on their face.Not even called a ambulance or doctor ,which another person had to do. So much for a person who died(3 persons)concern.Heartfelt sympathy to the familys.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rob Stan, Udupi / US

    Tue, Nov 7 2017

    If they had turned on the generator to turn on the fan, they would have switched it off, if they had realized that fans are not connected to the generator. Also it's difficult to imagine that none of them woke up with CO smell of the generator before inhaling the gas & becoming unconscious. Also security guards need to keep a watch on whatever happening around & not to sleep, especially all three. Something is fishy here. RIP.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rudolf Rodrigues, Mumbai

    Wed, Nov 8 2017

    Very true, there is much more to this story than meets the eye!!

    DisAgree [1] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Tejaswi, Mangalore

    Wed, Nov 8 2017

    Carbon Monoxide is odourless. There is no smell, except that of the fumes, which most people disregard as they think it is the normal smell of burning fuel in the engine. The first sign of carbon monoxide poisoning is sleepiness. In case there is no other person around, the victim cannot recognize the signs. Of course, once the person sleeps then there is nothing to be done. As regards attempts to shut down the generator once they realize it, there is just too much weakness, lethargy and dizziness. While it is ghastly, this was a case of negligence and lack of awareness. There is nothing fishy in the case. Just very sad and avoidable. Burning any fuel in closed quarters will generate CO and especially if there is partial combustion. In the West, people commit suicide in this manner - by closing their garage doors and switching on their car engines. Death is certain in closed chambers with the inhalation of CO and the person usually falls asleep and never wakes up. This is a sorry state of affairs. Generators must never be placed in closed confines even otherwise, for the risk of explosion from gas fumes. (Might I add, the same with batteries that you use for inverters. Risk of explosion.)

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  • Rita, Germany

    Tue, Nov 7 2017

    Very sad.mysterious enough specially they are security personnel.May be they were wearing their weapons that must have attracted electric waves during lightening?May God give their souls eternal rest and heartfelt sympathy to the family.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rudolf Rodrigues, Mumbai

    Tue, Nov 7 2017

    Could be electrocution too as here with sloppy work of MESCOM, there r good chances of coming in contact with live wire especially so in rainy weather!

    DisAgree [3] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • Theresa Lobo, Mukamar,Sharjah - U.A.E.

    Tue, Nov 7 2017

    Sad Incident. May their Souls Rest in Peace.

    DisAgree Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mahathma, Mangalore

    Tue, Nov 7 2017

    Very sad news!!! thorough investigation is very important here before coming to the conclusion

    DisAgree [1] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • ahmed hussain, uchil

    Tue, Nov 7 2017


    DisAgree [2] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse


    Tue, Nov 7 2017

    Gos gives strength to control feeling, feelings has to be controlled. As human beings our duty is to console and show smpathyu to the family who lost their dear ones.

    Is is unbearable and undigestable to the family to hear that their family members are no more.

    rip dear brothers

    DisAgree [1] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

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Title : Mangaluru: Poisonous gas caused deaths of three security guards - Forensic experts


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