Thousands of people in a riverside town in Kentucky, in the United States, were evacuated from their homes on Saturday (April 1) as salvage operations began on a deadly chlorine barge trapped under a dam parapet.
Thousands of people in a riverside town in Kentucky, in the United States, were evacuated from their homes on Saturday (April 1) as salvage operations began on a deadly chlorine barge trapped under a dam parapet. The barge, which broke away from its convoy and became unsteadily wedged against the parapet two weeks ago, has been in danger of breaking its tanks containing the liquid chlorine. If this happened, a deadly cloud of gass would be released over the town -- and the danger would be even greater during salvage operations.
Engineers moved in to begin their delicate task on Saturday, as soon as some four thousand people had left their homes by order of city officials, and the area had been sealed off by police and National Guardsmen.
SYNOPSIS: Salvage operations on a deadly chlorine barge began on the Ohio River in the United States on Saturday. The barge, which had broken away from its convey two weeks ago and became trapped under a dam parapet, was threatening the nearby town of Louisville, Kentucky. For if any of the tanks containing the deadly liquid chlorine had ruptured, a lethal cloud of gas would have drifted over the town. The salvage plan was to immobilise the barge, using two old minesweepers and a crane, and then pump the chlorine into another barge standing by. The operation, which was to be performed over about three days, was a delicate one -- the danger of a tank rupture was even greater than it had been.
So, before the engineers moved in to begin their dangerous mission, over four thousand townspeople were evacuated from their homes by order of city authorities. Those who didn't have transport were loaded onto buses, those who had no place else to go were accommodated in emergency sheller in suburban schools outside the city. Police and National Guardsman were brought in, to supervise the evacuation and seal off the area in case looters tried to get in. Ironically, following a similar evacuation in 1938 after a flood hit the city, the dam at the centre of current crisis was built to prevent disasters.