Scene of train collision in Dimona .
(photo credit: FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE)
Negligence probably caused a train crash in Dimona on Monday night which resulted in a dangerous bromine leak, according to Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay.
The accident occurred when a freight train collided with three railcars stopped on the track. One of the freight cars was carrying bromine, a corrosive and toxic chemical.
“No investigation is needed to know that leaving railcars on the track is negligence,” MK Gabbay said Tuesday.
Seven people were lightly injured in the accident, including the two train conductors who were bruised.
Some people experienced eye irritations and were taken to Beersheba’s Soroka-University Medical Center.
Though the damage in Monday’s accident was minor, the government previously said that a ruptured bromine container has the potential to kill hundreds of thousands of people, contaminate the aquifer, and damage infrastructure.
As a precautionary measure following the accident, police ordered all residents within a kilometer of the crash to remain indoors. At dawn Tuesday, residents were given the all-clear to leave their homes, though the ministry recommended that stores near the crash site remain closed.
On Tuesday evening, cleanup crews from the ministry were still working at the accident site, using ammonia and calcium oxide to neutralize the bromine leak. Soil samples collected in sealed containers were taken to a lab to determine the extent of environmental damage.
Gabbay said the Environmental Protection and Transportation ministries were working together to determine how the railcars were left on the tracks, and to ensure that a similar accident does not occur again.Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.