At Least 14 People Were Killed In A Potato Avalanche After A Warehouse Roof Collapsed In India

Published March 20, 2023

More than two dozen workers were buried beneath concrete and sacks of potatoes after faulty construction caused the warehouse ceiling to collapse.

Potato Avalanche In India

TwitterRescue crews search for survivors among piles of potatoes and wreckage.

Emergency services have rescued 24 people from the wreckage of a warehouse collapse in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The ceiling of the facility caved in on the morning of March 16, 2023 after the weight of hundreds of sacks of potatoes overwhelmed the structure. At the time of the collapse, more than two dozen workers were inside the warehouse.

India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) quickly initiated a rescue operation. Search crews, doctors, and 21 ambulances arrived at the scene along with heavy equipment to help sift through the mounds of potatoes and rubble.

However, the structure of the building posed a great challenge for rescuers, as they had to move thousands of pounds of concrete and metal in order to reach the victims.

“There is a basement in the building, and we are trying to reach there,” General of Police Shalabh Mathur said, according to NDTV. The rescue teams also used dogs to locate survivors.

They have pulled 24 people from the rubble so far, but some still remain missing, according to The Tribune.

Excavator Clearing Potatoes

YouTubeAn excavator clears sacks of potatoes from the collapsed warehouse.

District Magistrate Manish Bansal noted that four people are undergoing treatment at a local hospital for their injuries, and six have already been discharged.

However, not all of the workers were so lucky. Of the 24 people pulled from the rubble, 14 of them died from their injuries.

The chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, visited survivors in the hospital and victims’ families and promised accountability and financial aid.

According to the minister’s spokesperson, the victims’ next of kin will receive 200,000 rupees (around $2,400) each. Furthermore, those who are severely injured will receive 50,000 rupees (around $600) and free medical treatment.

As for accountability, a committee is forming to investigate how the collapse occurred in the first place. Officials expect that the commission will release a swift report, as evidence against the owners of the warehouse mounts every day.

Potato Warehouse Collapse

YouTubeThe immediate aftermath of the warehouse collapse in Uttar Pradesh.

According to workers and observers, the warehouse was unsound long before the collapse.

As the Independent reports, authorities have issued a complaint against the owners of the warehouse for constructing a roof that did not adhere to safety standards.

“Under Section 304, police filed [a report] at Chandausi police station against Ankur Agarwal and Rohit Agarwal, the owners of the building,” Mahur stated, as reported by METRO.

He continued: “As per the information that we have received, the building was new and items were stored without taking requisite permissions and clearances. The cold storage was filled beyond capacity, because of which it collapsed.”

“We have detained four people for questioning,” said Chakresh Mishra, the superintendent of police. “We will be able to tell the real reason for the collapse of this building only after crews remove the debris.”

If all goes according to plan, survivors, victims, and their families will soon see justice for this horrific incident.

After reading about the potato avalanche in India, learn about the Silver Bridge collapse in Ohio that killed nearly 50 people. Then, discover more man-made disasters, including the eight most horrifying amusement park accidents in history.

Amber Morgan
Amber Morgan is an Editorial Fellow for All That's Interesting. She graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in political science, history, and Russian. Previously, she worked as a content creator for America House Kyiv, a Ukrainian organization focused on inspiring and engaging youth through cultural exchanges.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Morgan, Amber. "At Least 14 People Were Killed In A Potato Avalanche After A Warehouse Roof Collapsed In India.", March 20, 2023, Accessed May 25, 2024.