Saturday, July 16, 2011
The blast wave of the explosion of 'gun powder' caused extensive damage but the trees in this picture are untouched! There is also a huge discrepancy about 'times' of the event. Apparently there was a fire at 4.00am or 4.15am but the explosion occurred at 5.45am, other news sources say a fire started at 3.45am (not the usual time for bush fires) and an explosion at 4.00am... Its been five days, and still no clear picture.
The Local Financial Express Newspaper reported the incident like this. I have made some emphasis and added corrections.
ZYGI, (Cyprus), July 11: A fire and explosion at a Cyprus naval base that damaged (destroyed) an adjacent power plant may have killed as many as fifteen people and knocked out 50 per cent (60-70%) of the island's electricity supply. The fire, which started in dry grass around 4 a.m. local time, spread to explosives stored at the Evangelos Florakis naval base in Zygi on the southern coast and set off munitions (containers with unconfirmed/unchecked military weaponry) seized from a ship in 2009, CyBC said. (After demands made by the US Government)
Among those killed were four (5) soldiers, two sailors and five (6) firefighters. As many as 43 (67) people were injured and an unknown number are missing, CyBC reported. Many of those injured were driving past the plant and hit by flying metal, Health Minister Christos Patsalides said.
The force of the explosions blew out virtually every window in the nearby fishing village of Zygi, whose seafront restaurants are popular with the many tourists who frequent the resort island.
The island's largest power station at Vassiliko right next to the base was virtually levelled by the blast, causing widespread power cuts that are likely to last for months.
Three of its four main buildings were virtually levelled along the generator's two main fuel tanks, the correspondent said.
The main motorway connecting the capital Nicosia with the island's second-largest city Limassol runs less than a kilometre (half a mile) from the plant and motorists passing at the time of the blasts reported debris flying through the air.
State television broadcast images of damaged vehicles, twisted road signs and debris strewn across the central reservation.
Five hours after the blasts, an AFP correspondent saw four fires still raging at the plant.
Interior Minister Neoklis Sylikiotis told the state CNA news agency that the village of Mari just east of the base was devastated by the explosion with virtually every home damaged.
Police prevented journalists from approaching the village or the Evangelos Florakis naval base itself, named after a military commander who died in a helicopter crash exactly nine years to the day before the blasts.
But the speaker of parliament, Yiannakis Omirou, who is a former defence minister and visited the scene, said the explosion had been so massive that the entire arms cache had been destroyed without trace.
President Demetris Christofias also visited the stricken base ahead of an emergency cabinet meeting. (Then promptly went into hiding for four days before appearing on TV and NOT apologizing for the terrible events)
According to public radio, the fire brigade was called to a wildfire near the base at 4:24 am (0124 GMT) and that the explosions followed at 5:50 am (0250 GMT) as the fire raged out of control.
Five firefighters were among the 11 dead (12, and today 13), who also included four members of the Greek Cypriot National Guard and two sailors, CNA said. State television said at least 12 people were killed.