Two Bosnians, One Macedonian Thought Among Dead in Melamin Explosion

By , 14 May 2022, 09:02 AM News
Two Bosnians, One Macedonian Thought Among Dead in Melamin Explosion YouTube

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STA, 13 May 2022 - Two Bosnian citizens and one Macedonian citizen are believed to be among the victims of Thursday's explosion at the Melamin chemical plant in Kočevje. Their identities will be verified with the help of DNA, police said on Friday. Economy Minister Zrdavko Počivalšek meanwhile visited Malamin to discuss ways of helping it.

Among the five dead, two were Bosnia-Herzegovina citizens, while the survivor being treated with severe burns in hospital is believed to be a Macedonian citizen.

Investigators are working with the relatives who reported missing persons to identify the victims. Since three missing persons are foreigners, the police are also working with foreign security services, Valter Zrinski from criminal police at the Ljubljana Police Department told the press on Friday.

Criminal police officers are investigating the accident working hand in hand with forensics and crime scene specialists to establish the cause of the blast. Zrinski said that this was one of the most demanding investigations ever in Slovenia.

Once all facts have been established, a report will be sent to a state prosecutor's office.

Environmental inspectors inspected the site to find that at least one qualified worker was present where the explosion occurred.

The accident happened when epichlorohydrin, a volatile substance, was transferred in what is believed to have been a wrong on-site cistern causing a strong exothermic chemical reaction

A day after the worst industrial accident in Slovenia's modern history, Melanin was visited by outgoing Economy Ministry Počivalšek, who said the state had several options to help out.

Under EU rules, the state can help all companies hit by an industrial accident cope with the damage to infrastructure but also regarding the loss of income.

"This can cover up to 100% of the damage," he said adding aid could come from the Slovenian Enterprise Fund, the SIB Bank, and the Regional Development Fund.

Melamin director Srečko Štefanič said that they should have all the data next week to be able to apply for EU aid.

Most of the workers are now registered with the Employment Service, with few working to service institutions coming to assess the damage.

"It's important that the instruments are here to pay workers who are now in great worry and shock," the director stressed.

The company still has some reserve so wages for a few coming months should not be a problem, while it could later resort to the ministry's various schemes.

Janja Turšič from the Environment Agency said the first results of water analysis from the river Rinža showed traces of epichlorohydrin and formaldehyde, but the concentrations did not even reach the maximum permitted levels.

The accident at Melamin, which produces plastic materials, paints, varnishes and other coatings and chemical products, happened at 8:30am on Thursday. The precise cause of the blast remains to be established but it was likely the result of human error.

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