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Five killed in blast as Bulgaria gas train derails

Five killed in blast as Bulgaria gas train derails

HITRINO: Five people were killed and dozens more were injured on Saturday when a freight train transporting highly-flammable gas derailed and exploded in northeastern Bulgaria.

The incident, which took place in the early hours of Saturday morning, caused huge devastation in the small village of Hitrino, destroying the station and around 50 houses, and sending huge plumes of black smoke soaring into the air.

Health Minister Petar Moskov put the toll at “five dead and 29 critically injured” but officials warned the toll would likely rise.

“There will be more than five victims. There are several injured with 90 percent burns,” said outgoing Prime Minister Boyko Borisov as he visited the scene.




The freight train, which derailed while entering the station, was hauling 20 tankers of highly-flammable propylene gas as well as four containing liquefied petroleum gas, a mixture of propane and butane.

The last two tankers hit a power line and exploded, with seven tankers full of propylene going off the tracks, local police spokeswoman Assia Yordannova said.

The blast occurred at 5:37am, causing devastation to a huge area of this small village which has a population of around 1000 people and is located about 100 kilometres from Varna, Bulgaria’s main port on the Black Sea.

“All buildings within a radius of 200 metres from the tracks are ruined, burned down,” said at the scene said.

He said firefighters and rescuers were working to cool off the tankers scattered along the railway tracks while searching for survivors under the debris.

The interior ministry said about 200 people were involved in the rescue efforts.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2016

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