Man killed in waterworks blast

A man was killed in a chemical explosion at a water treatment plant in Northern Ireland today.

A man was killed in a chemical explosion at a water treatment plant in Northern Ireland today.

Two others were taken to hospital but their injuries are not life-threatening.

A 10ft by 12ft storage tank was blasted through the roof more than 150 feet into the air above the waterworks near the village of Eglinton near Londonderry.

At the height of the alert, people were urged to stay indoors because of fears of dangerous gases leaking.

Roads were also blocked off as up to 40 firefighters were called in to search for casualties and examine the damage.

Staff at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry put an emergency plan into operation, but ambulance staff confirmed that injuries to the two men were not life-threatening.

The dead man had been working on the site just off the main Limavady Road and was believed to be close to the tank at the time of the accidental explosion.

It is understood an outside construction team was involved in work.

An ambulance crew specialising in infection control was sent to the scene as a precaution, but their services were not required.

People living near the Carmoney Waterworks said the explosion was very loud.

William Buchanan, 59, a former security guard at the site and whose home is 200 yards from the entrance, said: “The tank blew through the roof and landed in a field 50 metres away.

“It’s terrible somebody has lost their life. We’ve never had any trouble with the water treatment works in the 40 or 50 years it’s been here.”

Jeff Ennis, 32, who works at a Land Rover Centre 150 yards from the plant, said: ``There was a loud explosion. I was just heading outside and I saw the storage tank 200ft in the air.

“It was at its full height and there was debris floating after it.

“I was shocked. You don’t expect to see something that size flying through the air.”

The service manager, from Coleraine, added: “Police closed off the roads and told us there was acid in the tank.”

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