"There was a big explosion in the cracker manufacturing factory. Our people (police) have counted 11 people dead," a senior police official said on phone.
    
The workers of the private cracker unit, located at Vakatippa village in Uppada Kothapalli mandal near the district headquarters town of Kakinada, some 500 kms from here, were working when the blast took place this afternoon.
    
According to the police, there were 18 workers working in the unit at that time.
    
East Godavari District Collector Neetu Prasad, who visited the spot, said, "There was a sudden blast. Eleven workers at the unit, including nine women, were killed in the incident that occurred at around 2.45 pm."
    
Seven others were also injured in the incident, she added. They were taken to Kakinada General Hospital.
    
East Godavari District Superintendent of Police M Ravi Prakash said the bodies were completely charred.
    
"Nine of them died on the spot, while two others succumbed to burn injuries while undergoing treatment at a hospital," he said.
    
As per the preliminary information, the explosion was a result of a chemical reaction during the cracker manufacturing process, he said.
    
"We are verifying (the blast). Fire and forensic experts have rushed to the spot," the SP added.
    
Further investigation into the incident is on.

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