BUDAPEST, Hungary — The reservoir of an alumina plant in western Hungary burst on Monday, flooding several towns with towering waves of red sludge. One person died, three were missing and several dozen were injured, rescue services said.
The sludge, a waste product in aluminum production, contains heavy metals and is toxic if ingested, the National Disaster Management Directorate said.
Fifty-one people, including seven who were seriously hurt, were being treated by medical staff. The most common injuries caused by the caustic sludge were burns on the skin and eyes, said Jozsef Czirner, the regional rescue service director.
Army vehicles, two helicopters and some 40 soldiers were sent to assist with rescue efforts, state news wire MTI reported citing the defense ministry.
Police were also investigating the cause of the incident, MTI said.