ix men working for a catering firm died of asphyxiation in Delhi Cantonment area after they locked themselves in a truck with a simmering tandoor inside, police said on Tuesday.
The deaths came to light around 1.30am on Tuesday when the truck was forced open at the instance of the catering firm’s supervisor, said Shibesh Singh, DCP (southwest).
The officer said prima facie they suspected no foul play, but a case of causing death by negligence was likely to be registered at Delhi Cantonment police station.
Instances of people asphyxiating to death after locking themselves in a room with a lit brazier or tandoor are not uncommon in Delhi in the winter season.
In Tuesday’s incident, the deceased were identified as Amit, Pankaj, Anil, Kamal, Avadh Lal and Deep Chand. All the victims are aged between 25 and 35, police said, and worked either as chefs or waiters for the catering firm. Police said the firm is owned and run by one Gurpreet Singh, a resident of west Delhi’s Vikaspuri.
“The men had provided catering service at a wedding function in Cantonment’s Mall Road on Monday night. Since they were supposed to work at another function in the Cantonment area itself, they decided to sleep in their truck that they had parked at an open field near Central School in the neighbourhood,” said DCP Singh.
The probe so far has revealed that the workers decided to keep themselves warm in the night by using the tandoor that they kept burning, said the officer.
The six men locked the canter from inside around 3am on Tuesday. Since their schedule involved waking up late in the day, no one suspected anything unusual until late in the afternoon.
“But when their supervisor, Nirmal, did not find the men around by 1 pm on Tuesday, he decided to check. When his repeated knocks on the canter’s metal doors did not yield a response, he suspected foul play and got the doors opened,” said another investigator.
Inside, the six men were found lying motionless. Though the tandoor had turned cold by then, it did not take people around long to realise what could have happened.
A police call was made around 1.30pm even as locals rushed the six men to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital in west Delhi. All the six men were declared brought dead at the hospital.
Police said three of the men were natives of Rudrapur in Uttarakhand, while Kamal belonged to Nepal. The details of the other two men are being ascertained, police said. All the six men lived in Nangloi.