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Five killed, 39 hospitalized when semi driver abandons ammonia container

El Pinzan, Guerrero — Five people were killed and 39 left with chemical poisoning after the driver a semi carrying ammonia lost control and hit a rock wall.

The accident happened Friday night along the Siglo XXI highway between the states of Michoacán and Guerrero near the town of El Pinzan when the driver of a SIMSA double-trailer, which was carrying 40,000 liters of ammonia, lost control and crashed into a rock wall, causing one of his containers to become disconnected.

The severely damaged container, which came to a stop in the ditch, began emitting ammonia. The driver fled with the truck and second tank still attached, leaving the spewing container behind.

A passenger bus that happened to come upon the scene stopped when they saw the toxic cloud. Unfortunately, the four passengers and its driver got out of the bus. Four people died on site from chemical poisoning, while the fifth died later in hospital.

Emergency personnel evacuated the nearby towns of El Pinzan and Infiernillo. Members of the Costa Sierra Volunteer Firefighters, who were the first respondents, were supported by Becape for chemical control, however, 39 people were still taken to area hospitals for chemical poisoning.

Federal police completely closed the Feliciano-Las Cañas highway while Protección Civil Municipal dealt with the leaking ammonia container.