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Last Updated: Monday, 24 May, 2004, 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK
Lorry blast kills 16 in Romania
Scene of accident
The explosion happened after rescue workers arrived
At least 16 people, including rescue workers and journalists, died when a lorry carrying fertiliser blew up after a road accident in Romania.

The overturned truck caught fire and exploded as police and firefighters arrived at the scene in Mihailesti - about 70km (43 miles) from Bucharest.

Two journalists filming the incident were among those killed in the blast at 0400GMT on Monday.

The Interior Ministry said the truck was carrying ammonium nitrate.

Romania's Junior Health Minister Aurel Nechita said at least seven firefighters, two policemen and the two reporters were among the dead.

Firefighters

He said one of the dead police officers was the chief of police in Mihailesti, who died after he was rushed to hospital.

An Interior Ministry statement said two fire engines and six cars were destroyed or damaged.

Colonel Marian Bercan, of the local fire service, told AP that firefighters were preparing to extinguish the fire on the truck when it exploded.

He said the firefighters did not know what the truck was carrying.

The blast left a large crater and damaged nearby houses and electricity pylons.

Transport Minister Miron Mitrea said an investigation was under way to establish the cause of the accident.


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