Romanian fert truck blast death toll now 16, probe underway

25 May 2004 12:29  [Source: ICIS news]

BUCHAREST (CNI)--Sixteen people are now confirmed dead in Monday’s chemical truck explosion in Mihailesti, eastern Romania, according to the latest official data released on Tuesday to CNI.

 

The dead were six firefighters, two journalists and eight other people. Another eleven people, most of them in nearby cars, were injured.

The blast occurred when a truck now confirmed to have been carrying ammonium nitrate overturned. Initial reports described the cargo as simply ammonia. The resultant fire and explosion left a crater about 14 metres deep and damaged several nearby houses.

 

The truck belonged to local company Mih Transcom. It was transporting the fertiliser from Doljchim’s chemical plant in Dolj county in southern Romania to a city in the east.

 

Oil group Petrom, the owner of Doljchim, said in a statement that the transportation company was solely responsible for the accident.

An investigation is underway to establish the cause.

 

"For sure, the truck overturned and caught fire," sources from the Interior Ministry told CNI.

 

The authorities are also investigating whether the truck was transporting chemicals legally. "We will start an analysis of traffic safety on public roads and will impose tighter controls on trucks carrying dangerous goods," Transportation Ministry spokesperson Miron Mitrea said.

The accident was described as Romania's worst chemical accident in recent history.


By: Marian Chiriac
+44 20 8652 3214



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