Petrol tanker collides and explodes in Bologna, two dead
7 August 2018
ROME – At least two people have died and more than 60 have been injured following a violent collision between a petrol tanker and a lorry, which sparked a fire before the first vehicle exploded, police said on Tuesday.
The incident occurred around 2.p.m on Monday afternoon on the motorway junction in Bologna that connects the A1 to the A14, as a petrol tanker collided with the rear-end of a stopped lorry. A fire broke out before the petrol tanker exploded due to the intense heat.
The explosion also made the motorway bridge collapse that runs parallel to the peripheral but highly populated area of the city, Borgo Panigale. The explosion was felt throughout the whole zone, shattering windows of houses and setting another car on fire. A huge column of smoke emerged from the petrol tanker which was visible from the whole city for hours.
The first victim of the fire has been identified as the 42-year-old driver of the petrol tanker, Andrea Anzolin, who worked for a fuel trade and distribution business. From Vincenza, he was an expert driver who had driven transporting flammable materials for many years.
The number of deaths reported may increase. So far 68 have been wounded; some hit by shards and debris, others suffering from severe burns to their bodies. Three of them, including a police officer who together with two colleagues was directing the traffic after a previous accident, have been brought to central burn centres in Cesena and Parma, but their lives are not at risk.
The motorway has now been closed. Infrastructure Minister Danilo Toninelle expressed solidarity with those injured, adding that the government is working “to guarantee sufficient traffic flow in such an important stretch of motorway.”
In the next few days it will be determined how long repairs are likely to take, whilst the judge in Bologna has opened a case for the disaster. Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is currently visiting the hospital Bufalini di Cesena where he met with two of the people who suffered burns in the explosion.
The accident could have been due to a fatal distraction, a technical fault or the health of the driver. The fact that the explosion occurred a few minutes after the collision, enabling many passengers to move away from the stretch of motorway, prevented a loss of life on a huge scale.