Pipe explodes at Mekorot drilling site, releasing toxic chemicals; one person in critical condition, four are seriously wounded; residents in the area are not in any danger, Environmental Ministry says; Highway 90 closed.
The injured were evacuated by helicopters and ambulances to Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba. One person was in critical condition, four in serious condition, and five others were lightly injured.
The Environmental Protection Ministry said there is no danger to area residents as a result of the explosion. After exploring the area, a team of ministry workers determined that the risk range is only 200 meters, and that the closest residential population is five kilometers away from the site.
The staff members provided instructions to police officers on site as to how to properly protect themselves and enter the facility, the ministry added.
Those present at the site, operated by the Mekorot water company, however, were suffering breathing problems from the released chemicals.
Police closed Highway 90 to traffic in both directions.
View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=275989