Three workers are missing in Greece following a freak explosion in a dynamite factory. The factory is located in a remote region north of Greneva, 420 kilometers northwest of Athens. The explosion rocked the countryside and could be heard from the city, according to regional governor Giorgos Kasapidis.
“Explosives experts and rescue specialists are on the way to secure the site and make sure there are no secondary consequences from the initial explosion and to take other actions necessary while investigating the causes of the accident,” Kasapidis told reporters Monday.
One worker has been hospitalized with mild injuries. However, rescuers fear the other three workers might not just be injured. The explosion was massive enough to be heard from several kilometers away, which means it was powerful enough to claim lives.
Greek state-run media outlets have reported that the three missing workers are dead. One of the victims of the explosion was the factory’s co-owner. It’s unclear who the other two workers were at the time of this writing.
According to firefighters who responded to the blast, the explosion was so powerful that it reduced the factory to rubble. This is a nightmare scenario for a commercial dynamite factory. Authorities are likely to investigate how the factory’s standards allowed this explosion to take place. The European Union places strict standards on explosives manufacturing to prevent accidents like this from occurring.
There is no evidence right now as to what caused the blast. However, Greek officials haven’t stated that they think the explosion was the result of foul play.
This freak incident is reminiscent of a similar accidental explosion in Beirut in 2020. On August 4, 2020, a large quantity of improperly-stored ammonium nitrate exploded in the Lebanese port city. The catastrophic blast killed 400 people, injured over 7,000 more, and left 300,000 without shelter.
The Beirut explosion captured attention on social media because it happened in a densely-populated urban center and was caught on video from multiple angles. It was one of the most powerful artificial non-nuclear explosions in human history, registering as a magnitude 3.3 seismic event.
In the Beirut case, the explosion occurred because the government was storing a large quantity of ammonium nitrate in a warehouse near the port. Lebanese officials seized the explosives from a merchant vessel that became embroiled in a customs dispute, leaving its cargo in a legal gray area. This incident went largely unnoticed by the people of Beirut until the explosion.