Mihăilești explosion

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Mihăilești explosion
Buzau in Romania.svg
Location of Buzău County in Romania
Time 5:49 AM
Date 24 May 2004
Location Mihăilești, Buzău County, Romania
Cause Explosion of a tanker loaded with ammonium nitrate
Deaths 18
Non-fatal injuries 13
Mihăilești monument, erected in 2007 in memory of the victims

The Mihăileşti explosion occurred on 24 May 2004 in the village of Mihăileşti, Buzău County, Romania. A truck loaded with ammonium nitrate rolled over and caught fire, and one hour later exploded killing at least 18 people and another 13 were wounded.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

At 4:57 AM local time, a truck loaded with 20 tons of ammonium nitrate rolled over on the express road E85 connecting Bucharest with Moldavia. Soon after the accident, the truck caught fire, so the driver immediately called the emergency number. Two fire trucks arrived at the scene 20 minutes later and started putting out the fire. A TV crew also arrived and started filming for a news program. Meanwhile, curious villagers gathered around the accident site.

At 5:47 AM, a small explosion took place in the cabin of the truck, followed 2 minutes later by a larger explosion, killing 7 firefighters, the TV crew (Ionuţ Barbu and Elena Popescu from Antena 1),[1] several villagers and the truck driver, totalling 18 people. 13 others were injured.

Of the 18 killed, 2 people (the truck driver and one of the firefighters) had to be identified by means of DNA testing. The explosion left behind a 6.5 meter deep crater, scattered human remains and debris over a several hundred meters radius, and caused damage amounting to about 70,000 euros.

Following this event, safety regulations for the transport of chemical substances were improved and ammonium nitrate was classified as a hazardous chemical compound. The director of the Doljchim plant, which produced the ammonium nitrate, and the managers of the two companies involved in the transport of this substance without safety measures were charged with homicide by negligence and destruction of property. All were found guilty and sentenced to 4 years in jail, as well as the payment of compensations to the victims' families.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Şase ani de la tragedia de la Mihăileşti (Six years after the tragedy at Mihăileşti)". realitatea.net (in Romanian). Realitatea TV. May 24, 2010. Archived from the original on June 21, 2015. Retrieved June 21, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Lorry blast kills 16 in Romania". news.bbc.co.uk. British Broadcasting Corporation. May 24, 2004. Retrieved June 21, 2015. 
  3. ^ "15 Romanians killed by truck blast". xinhuanet.com. Xinhua News Agency. May 25, 2004. Retrieved June 21, 2015. 
  4. ^ "VIDEO: 7 ani de la tragedia de la Mihailesti (Video: 7 years since the tragedy at Mihailesti)". jurnaluldebuzau.ro (in Romanian). Jurnalul de Buzău. May 24, 2011. Retrieved June 21, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Închisoare pentru vinovaţii de la Mihăileşti (Jail for the managers found responsible for Mihăileşti catastrophe)". evz.ro (in Romanian). Evenimentul Zilei. March 3, 2008. Retrieved June 21, 2015. 
  6. ^ "5 ani de la tragedia de la Mihailesti! (5 years since the tragedy of Mihailesti!)". stirileprotv.ro (in Romanian). Pro TV. May 25, 2009. Retrieved June 21, 2015. 

Coordinates: 44°54′47″N 26°41′15″E / 44.91306°N 26.68750°E / 44.91306; 26.68750