Gas train blast in Bul­garia kills five

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

SOFIA: At least five peo­ple were killed yes­ter­day and 27 were in­jured when a freight train trans­port­ing gas de­railed and ex­ploded in the north­east­ern Bul­gar­ian vil­lage of Hitrino, of­fi­cials said. “Five vic­tims have been con­firmed dead so far and 27 in­jured,” the in­te­rior min­istry said in a state­ment. The train was car­ry­ing more than 20 tankers of propy­lene gas and propane bu­tane when it de­railed while en­ter­ing the vil­lage’s rail sta­tion.

The last two tankers hit a power line and ex­ploded and seven tankers full of propy­lene went off the tracks, lo­cal po­lice spokes­woman As­sia Yor­dan­nova said. The blast oc­curred at 5:37am (0337 GMT) at the vil­lage, lo­cated about 100 kilo­me­ters from Varna, Bul­garia’s main port on the Black Sea. The in­te­rior min­istry said there were 200 fire­fight­ers and res­cuers at the scene. More than 50 houses were dam­aged and 40 fam­i­lies evac­u­ated. “Four vic­tims have been iden­ti­fied but we fear there will be more.

Twenty-five peo­ple were in­jured,” civil de­fence chief Niko­lay Nikolov said. A hos­pi­tal in the nearby town of Shu­men said an 18year-old man had died from his in­juries, while three peo­ple with life-threat­en­ing burns have been trans­ported to a hos­pi­tal in the city of Varna, Bul­garia’s largest port on the Black Sea.

Aerial footage showed a mas­sive plume of black smoke ris­ing over the small vil­lage, which is home to some 800 peo­ple. Charred tankers lay scat­tered around the tracks of the nearly ru­ined rail­way sta­tion. There was de­bris ev­ery­where. “There is dev­as­ta­tion in the area around the blast site. Twelve peo­ple have been res­cued from un­der the ru­ins alive so far and fire­fight­ers are check­ing for more,” Nikolov added.

Hitrino’s sta­tion, the po­lice head­quar­ters and sev­eral homes along the rail­way tracks were razed. Fires rag­ing in the area were put out around noon, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties said. “There will be more than five vic­tims.

There are sev­eral in­jured with 90 per­cent burns,” Bul­garia’s out­go­ing Prime Min­is­ter Boyko Borisov af­ter ar­riv­ing at the site. He ap­pealed for blood do­na­tions for the hos­pi­tals treat­ing the in­juries. Res­i­dents said the fire­fight­ers had been “very slow” to ar­rive and many burst into tears while re­count­ing how their houses col­lapsed. Cargo train ac­ci­dents are rel­a­tively fre­quent in Bul­garia where rail­way tracks are ob­so­lete and reg­u­larly pil­laged by thiefs. But vic­tims are ex­tremely rare.

— AP

HITRINO: Fire­fight­ers con­tinue to work at the scene af­ter a tanker train de­railed and gas tank ex­ploded.

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