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Fourth person dies after BASF chemical plant blast in Ludwigshafen

31 October 2016

Another firefighter has died after being injured in the October 17 blast at the BASF chemical complex in Ludwigshafen, south west Germany. The explosion and subsequent fire killed two other BASF firefighters as well as a Polish sailor on a nearby tanker ship. The body of the sailor was retrieved by divers from the bottom of the BASF plant harbour where the accident took place.

BASF complex at Ludwigshafen - Shutterstock
BASF complex at Ludwigshafen - Shutterstock

"This morning, one of the BASF firefighters who was critically injured in the October 17 explosion ... succumbed to his wounds," BASF said in a statement dated October 29.

"I am deeply concerned, that another employee has died as a result of the accident," BASF CEO Kurt Bock said in the statement. "Our thoughts are with our deceased colleagues and his family."
Eight people were critically injured - including the now deceased BASF fireman - and another 22 people were slightly injured.

The October 17 fire occurred at a river harbour used to unload flammable liquids and liquid gas. It took firefighters 10 hours to extinguish the resulting blaze.

BASF said earlier this week that the explosion was likely triggered by a contractor who mistakenly cut the wrong pipeline.

The public prosecutor for Frankenthal, Hubert Ströber, said that an external company had been working on a pipeline prior to the incident. His office has launched an investigation into the explosion on suspicion of negligent homicide and negligent bodily harm.

BASF employs over 100,000 people around the world and had sales of more than 70 billion euros ($76.8 billion) in 2015. The Ludwigshafen plant currently employs some 36,000 people.

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