German plant blast toll mounts to 3
Divers on Wednesday found the body of a man at a BASF chemical plant in western Germany, where an explosion occurred on Monday, bringing the toll to three, police said. Prosecutors have ordered an autopsy be carried out on the remains, police in the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate said in a statement.
BASF firefighters were caught in an explosion on Monday after responding to a small blaze near docks, where tanker ships unload flammable liquids and liquified gases via systems of pipes.
Two firefighters were confirmed dead on Tuesday, with one person missing and more than 20 injured, including six seriously. The body found on Wednesday is believed to be that of the missing person. “We have to assume that our fears have become a tragic certainty and lament a third death,” BASF board member Margret Suckale said in a statement.
Monday’s blast sent smoke billowing into the sky above the company’s home town of Ludwigshafen and neighbouring Mannheim, with emergency responders called in from the whole region to fight the resulting blaze.
Residents were warned to remain indoors for fear of airborne chemical leaks after some complained of respiratory irritations. City and company officials kept the warnings in place even after the fire was extinguished on Monday evening, as gases were still leaking from breached pipes at the site.