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10658 Chemical accident in Thailand (siam) with lpg
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General accident information
Class/Quality * * * *
Year 1990
Summary Substandard truck with 2 unfixed lpg tanks
Collided with a car and overturned causing
Release, fire, explosions, major damage and
At least 168 casualties
Country T
Activity ROADTRANSPORT
Location ROAD/HIGHWAY/FREEWAY/MOTORWAY
Chemicals Lpg
Cause Human-failure
Fatalities/Injuries 68 / >100
Occurrences or events Burst/Rupture, Drive, Explosion, Fall,
Fire, Fire, Fire fighting/Emergency response, Fireball,
Ignition, Mount/Connect, Mount/Connect, Oscillate/Swerve,
Overheating, Overspeed, Overturn/Capsize, Release,
Stench-emission, Wrong-action
 
 
Full accident information 
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Country: THAILAND (SIAM) (T)
Date : 1990 0924


A road tanker carrying 5E+3/kg of LPG was involved in a collision at a busy road junction and resulted in a flash fire involving many vehicles. The road tanker was not licensed to carry LPG and had two pressure vessels on a flatbed lorry. The vehicle overturned and the vessels broke away from the lorry. The two interconnecting lines are believed to have sheared to release the LPG.

Extended description
The horrific road tanker accident in Thailand in 1990, provides a dramatic reminder of the high risks attendant on the transport of bulk quantities of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) through busy city streets, especially where unscrupulous operators may be involved.
At 2230 hours the driver or a truck carrying 2.4/m3 or LPG in two tanks came down a motorway exit ramp towards an intersection "recklessly and at high speed". Some said the driver was trying to beat a red light but, whether this was the case or not, the truck swung out or control and crashed into a private car on the six-lane wide road of a large city. The streets are amongst the busiest in the world, even late in the evening, and on this occasion the road was thoroughly congested.
The tanker tipped over immediately after the impact and LPG spewed out through burst safety valves. The flammable gas was ignited and the fire spread rapidly out over the streel to nearby buildings. A total of 57 cars and 48 ???shop-houses??? were destroyed in the ensuing blaze, Much worse, 68 were killed, including the truck driver, and more than 100 injured by the fire. Most of the casualties were trapped in their cars and unable to move. Firefighters and rescue workers had trouble gaining access to the site through the congested streets.
Investigations during the following week revealed a catalogue of substandard procedures, second-rare equipment and negligent behaviour. Not only was the 20-year old truck found to have been unlicensed and illegally modified, it was not fitted with special shock absorbers nor were the two large cargo tanks permanently fixed to the chassis as required by Thai safety regulations. Officials of the Public Works Department also found that the steel used in the construction or the tank was not sufficiently thick while the Forensics Institute found truces or alcohol and amphetamines in the blood and urine or the truck driver during a medical examination or the body.
The truck belonged to the gas company although the managing director had for several days denied that his company was the owner, falsely staling that it had been sold to a subcontractor a month before the accident. He was arrested one week after the incident and admitted lying to the authorities. Under Thai law the company is liable not only for fines arising out of safety violations but also civil suits for compensation for death, injury and damages which is likely to run into tens of millions of dollars. The damage to cars and buildings was estimated at Bt 100m.
It was later discovered that only nine of the 57 cars and 15 of the 48 shop-houses destroyed in the blaze were insured. One repercussion of the incident is that it may cause Thais to think much more seriously about taking out insurance on their cars and homes.
Thailand's government is now likely to tighten up its safety regulations which govern the transport of flammable liquids and liquefied gases, The deputy prime minister has already asked his cabinet to endorse legislation which would require LPG, widely used as a cooking gas throughout Thailand, to be sold only at petrol stations.

Lessons learned
All LPG trucks had to be inspected.
As always in incidents such as this, it is important that legislators do not lose sight or the substandard procedures which led to the incident in the first place before embarking on a headlong rush to enact masses of new legislation.





 
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