An official photograph released by the National Gas Company (NGC) CNG Limited showed the CNG tank remains intact in the official school transport bus after an incident which left its driver in a serious condition at hospital.
The photograph was released to the T&T Guardian yesterday as investigations continue into the incident which left Indra Changar, 53, nursing serious injuries to her body including her eyes.
Up to yesterday, Changar remained hospitalised at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mount Hope.
According to NGC CNG’s communications manager, Roger Sant preliminary investigations revealed that the “tank did not explode. While there was an incident, the CNG storage tank did not explode.”
Sant also disputed the report initially given to the T&T Guardian by one of Changar’s relatives that the technician, who installed the CNG tank is NGC-approved.
“Please note neither NGC nor NGC CNG or anyone else other than the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries approves converters,” Sant said.
He added that to become a licensed CNG converter, applicants must go through a rigorous approval process which is solely the purview of the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries. “Once again, we state the technician is not “NGC-approved,” Sant said.
As the investigations continue into last month’s incident, an independent investigator – the Natural Gas Vehicle Institute, which is a certified CNF Fuel System Inspector, has been brought onboard to assist in the investigations to assess the vehicle’s CNG system.
The investigations are being done by the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries (MEEI), NGC CNG and Massy Automotive Components Limited (MACL).
On September 21, at about 5 am, Changar was getting ready to leave her home in Munroe Road, to go and pick up her school children passengers. As soon as she opened the door of the van there was a loud explosion which threw her against a wall.
Changar went unconscious for a few minutes and when she regained consciousness she found that her entire body was on fire and her clothes burnt off completely.
Changar had the CNG tank installed in her van on September 18 by a technician.
After installation, Changar had to take it back on September 19 and September 20 to have “final works” done.
Changar had filled up the tank on the night of September 20 before parking it in the garage area of her home.
Changar usually transports pupils of St Augustine Girls’ High School and Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu College.
Changar has been transporting school children for just over six years and had decided to convert her vehicle to CNG after a recommendation by NGC.
In September 2017, NGC CNG Company Limited began to distribute incentives to maxi taxi, taxi, and private school bus owners who have transitioned to CNG.