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Minister criticises Nováky management

Defence Minister František Kašický said on March 4 that he will hold the management of the Nováky Military Maintenance Company responsible for their slow response to the explosion once the investigation into the tragedy is finished.

On March 2 an ammunition depot at the western Slovak Nováky military plant exploded, leaving at least three dead and five still missing. Kašický expressed disappointment with the company management’s reaction to the tragedy. He claimed that nobody was doing anything to coordinate rescue operations until he got there himself.

His offer his resignation to the prime minister and president, who rejected it on March 5.

Kašický thinks there are several factors behind the explosion, including violations of safety guidelines. "There is a general principle that says that you only destroy as much ammunition as can be processed during one shift," he said. He guesses that there might have been more ammunition in the disassembly workshop at the time as the explosion was so large that the whole building and surrounding buildings were levelled to the ground. A complete inventory of remaining ammunition was taken after the explosion to try to discern if overloading was really the cause of the accident.

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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