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Two dead in ‘bomb-like’ tanker blast

Nissar Hoath / 14 January 2013

An empty fuel tanker exploded “like a bomb”, killing two Asian men who were cleaning it at an auto workshop which was also destroyed.

But police and witnesses say there could have been a much higher death toll had the workshop been busier at the time, or the force of the blast gone in a different direction.

The workers were killed on Sunday morning at a Musaffah auto workshop according to Abu Dhabi Police, who said the accident happened in Musaffah Industrial Area 11. The police said workers were busy cleaning the empty fuel tanker at the time of the explosion. The identities of the victims have not yet been disclosed.

A nearby worker said the “big explosion” could be heard from as far away as two kilometres.

“It could have been a big disaster claiming many lives if the tanker had the fuel cargo. Though it was empty, it was like a bomb, all of a sudden it exploded, destroying the huge workshop and killing two workers engaged in the maintenance of the vehicle,” said the eyewitness, who works at a nearby workshop.

He also said there were fewer workers than usual in the garage at the time of the accident and the impact of tanker explosion was upward, which was why only the two workers close to it were killed.

“The whole roof of the workshop was blown up due to the

impact of the explosion. We are all surprised how this happened. Most of us believe it must have been gas in the empty tanker that caused the accident.

According to police, the Central Operations Room of the Civil Defence received the report of the accident just before 9.30am and a team of paramedics, firefighters and other security officials reached the scene within five minutes and found the two dead workers.

“The investigation is underway to determine what caused the empty fuel tanker to explode. It was a huge explosion that could have been severe with more casualties. Immediately after the accident, we started an on-the-spot examination of the cause and further investigation will be carried out to...help avoid such disasters (in future),” Abu Dhabi Civil Defence Director-General Colonel Mohammed Abdullah Al Nuaimi said.

The official further called on the auto and other mechanical workshops to take extra caution and train their workers in disaster preventive measures as well as keep their premises fully equipped with fire safety equipment to help prevent such accidents.




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