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Rescue Operations in Nováky continue

Three people have been reported dead and five are still missing after the explosion of a munitions dump near the central Slovak town of Nováky on March 2.

The explosion left behind a 20-metre wide crater and demolished over a football field worth of the surrounding area.

Twenty-six people suffered injuries and were transported to several hospitals. Ten people were already relapsed from hospital after getting medical treatment.

About 100 fire-fighters were deployed to the site and worked all night to extinguish the fire.

František Kašický, the Slovak Defence Minister, was at the scene of the explosion on Friday night, left for the day and returned in the evening to oversee operations.

It is still not clear what the cause of the explosion was but it is thought to have been at least partly due to human error.

The explosion took place in the bunker where ammunition is defused and destroyed.

"The people who are still missing probably did not survive the explosion", said Prime Minister Robert Fico. The PM also announced that the government would reimburse the relatives of the victims and the injured. Trade unions at the Defence Ministry will give Sk50,000 to each victim's surviving family.

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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