Shivamogga: At least 15 people were killed in a major dynamite blast near Shivamogga city in central Karnataka late on Thursday when a lorry carrying gelatines and a huge quantity of dynamites exploded near a stone quarry around 10:30 pm.

Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa ordered a high-level probe to look into the incident. “I had instructed the authorities last night to take all necessary measures for rescue operations and others. A high-level probe has also been ordered. Strict action will be taken against the guilty,” Yediyurappa said.

He added, “The incident that took place in Shivamogga yesterday night is tragic and highly unfortunate. I express my deepest condolences to the kin of the deceased.”

Reacting to the incident that left at least 15 people dead due to a massive explosion in Shivamogga, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the state government was providing assistance to those affected.

"Pained by the loss of lives in Shivamogga. Condolences to the bereaved families. Praying that the injured recover soon. The State Government is providing all possible assistance to the affected," he tweeted.

In a series of tweets, Karnataka Minister for Mines and Geology Murugesh Rudrappa Nirani, revealed that among the 15 killed in the blast were labourers from Bihar. "It is suspected that gelatin sticks in a truck near the stone quarry exploded, killing the labourers from Bihar. I am saddened by the tragic incident at a stone quarry near Abbalagere in Shivamogga. My deepest condolences to the families of the victims and pray for speedy recovery of the injured. The government will take strict action against illegal stone quarrying," he said in his tweet.

Based on reports, the quarry unit is found to be 'SS Stone Crusher', which spans over 21 acres and is owned by ST Kulkarni. Stone crushing was reportedly being carried out in five acres of this plot, for which licence was taken in April 2019 and is valid till 2024. The crushing unit was licensed under Sudhakar's name. Meanwhile, the police have taken into custody two people -- Sudhakar and Avinash Kulkarni, the son of ST Kulkarni -- for questioning.