Hundreds still cannot return home after Belgium chemical train crash

9th May 2013, Comments 0 comments

Hundreds of people evacuated from their homes after a train carrying highly toxic chemicals derailed and exploded last week are still unable to return, Belgian officials said Thursday.

The accident Saturday sent flames shooting into the sky near the city of Ghent, about 60 kilometres (40 miles) northwest of Brussels.

The train was carrying acrylonitrile, a highly flammable and dangerous chemical used in plastics and whose fumes can cause dizziness and nausea.

Provincial governor Jan Briers said that some 600 to 700 people evacuated to safety, out of more than 1,000, still could not return home.

The operation to clear the wreckage of the train and get people back home was proving more difficult than expected, Briers was quoted as saying by the Belga news agency.

Belga, citing local fire department officials, said firemen had begun pumping out some 50 tonnes of remaining chemicals from the train carriages on Thursday and this should take a day.

One person died and nearly 50 were injured in the accident which saw six of the train's 13 wagons come off the tracks, with two lying on their sides.

The cause is being investigated.

© 2013 AFP

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