UPDATE: BASF explosion death toll rises to three
This is the third death from the explosion at BASF’s HQ in Ludwigshafen, Germany on Monday (17th October).
Emergency service divers had been searching for the only person unaccounted for after the incident.
“Unfortunately what we worst feared seems to have come true and we now have a third death to mourn. Our thoughts are with the families and the injured. Today at BASF, all employees held a minute of silence to remember the victims,” Margret Suckale, BASF board of executive directors member, said in a statement this afternoon (19th October).
While the body has not yet been identified, yesterday it was confirmed that the two other fatalities had been employees of BASF’s fire department.
Story updated noon, 20/10/2016.
Eight other people were seriously injured in the explosion and subsequent fires and 17 others were injured less seriously.
The explosion happened during work on a liquefied gas pipeline, which transports raw materials including ethylene and propylene.
Vitamin A and E supply
As a safety precaution 24 other plants at the Ludwigshafen site - the biggest chemicals plant in the world with 39,000 employees - are currently either shutdown or only partially running.
Both steamcrackers have also been shut down, however BASF says these will be gradually restarted from October 20.
"When the steamcrackers are started up, most of the affected plants will also be gradually restarted or will increase production over the next few days," the company said in a statement.
A number of products for the human nutrition industry are produced at the Ludwigshafen site including vitamins A and E and beta-carotenoids as well as processing aids.
Sarah Schmidt, global communication manager for the company's human nutrition segment, told us yesterday: "Due to safety reasons or lack of raw materials, BASF has decided to temporarily shut down some production plants in Ludwigshafen. For the time being, we keep the product supply stable by using the stocks where available.
"We kindly ask to excuse any delivery delays that might occur due to bottlenecks in our logistic infrastructure."
Authorities are investigating the cause of the explosion at the North Harbor site, but have ruled out terrorism.