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SK examining 3 possible causes of Chelyabinsk bromine leak

September 06, 2011, 16:39 UTC+3

arkin said the SK had inspected the powered hump from which the car had been rolled own, and retrieved soil samples

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MOSCOW, September 6 (Itar-Tass) — The Investigative Committee is considering three possible versions of the bromine leak in Chelyabinsk, SK spokesman told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

The investigators believe the bromine containers developed a leak because of inattention of duty officer at the powered hump of the Chelyabinsk-Glavny railway station Sergei Abramov, who failed to notice the warning sign on the list of marshalled objects, namely "Do Not Hump," and issued the instruction to roll down the freight car.

Also, the investigators suspect the persons who loaded bromine into the car in violation of the established rules, and Russian Railways officials, who might have improperly performed their duties in compliance with the humping regulations.

Markin said the SK had inspected the powered hump from which the car had been rolled own, and retrieved soil samples. The samples will be analyzed.

Also, the SK inspected the interior of the car where a number of bromine containers had leaked.

The investigators continue to examine the documents, instruction logs, and shipment documents at branches of the Yuzhny-Ural Railways.

On Monday, a Russian Railways official told Tass that a special commission had conducted a preliminary probe, involving representatives of the Investigative Committee and the consignor. The commission found "violations of technical conditions of loading and fastening of the cargo during its packaging and placing."

Gross violations of the rules of transportation of dangerous cargos by railway caused the bromine leak. The consignor is Public Society Brom of Ukraine, the Russian company said.

Russian Railways also said it would send the results of the probe to the consignor, to determine the mechanism of compensation for the consequences of the incident.

Three persons hospitalized after a bromine leak incident remain under medical supervision in Chelyabinsk.

The bromine leak was detected in a freight car at the Chelyabinsk-Glavny station at 02:20, Moscow time, on September 1.

The railway car leaking bromine was promptly taken to a special location which the authorities cordoned off.

At 12:56, Moscow time, the leak was contained and at 14:08, it was fully eliminated.

According to environmental monitoring results, the content of bromine vapours in the air is presently below the permissible level.

Two-hundred and fifteen people, including four children, sought medical assistance. They complained of feeling unwell.

There were 55 personnel of the Yuzhny-Ural Railways, and 23 rescuers among the affected people, the health care department said.

In all, 55 persons were hospitalized. Ten were recognized as injured parties. Most of the victims have already left the Chelyabinsk region.

The SK will retrieve the illness records of the persons who sought medical assistance in order to determine the harm caused to their health.

The Ural Investigative Department on the Transport opened criminal proceedings over Article 247 of Russia's Criminal Code ("transportation, storing and other handling of chemicals with violation of established rules, if these actions threatened to cause considerable damage to health or environment").

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