An American team of disposal experts were sent to Australia to blow up a potentially deadly cylinder of Hydrocyanic gas - the type used in gas chamber executions.
An American team of disposal experts were sent to Australia to blow up a potentially deadly cylinder of Hydrocyanic gas - the type used in gas chamber executions. The cylinder had been stored in the warehouse of a pes? extermination company in the Sydney suburb of Chatswood for years, and its detection sparked off the emergency operation. The manufacturers discovered the cylinders holding the gas were perishable when in 1977 one ruptured in Stafford, Texas. Since then, twelve of the deadly cylinders have been destroyed.
SYNOPSIS: Moving the yard-long (metre) cylinder was the most dangerous part of the operation. Almost a thousand people were evacuated from their homes in the area because any jolt or strong heat could rupture the case and release the deadly gas. The cylinder, discovered ten days earlier, was placed in a lidless steel box.
Fifteen litres (4 gallons) of petrol was added and two special charges placed inside. The explosion resembled a minor atomic blast.
The charges split the cylinder and a third device ignited the fuel, burning the cyanide before it could escape into the atmosphere. Ten minutes later a representative of the cylinder manufacturer waved a gas detector near the buckled box and declared the area safe.
Police sirens sounded the all clear and the smouldering canister was removed by firemen. Experts said that the cylinders are safe if they re not moved, but after a while the hydrogen cyanide begins to crystallise and then any movement can cause the case to split.