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Kaliňák: Construction worker died in tunnel due to uncontrolled blast

The death of a construction worker and the injuries of five others in the Šibenik D1 highway tunnel, under construction in the village of Spišský Hrhov (Prešov Region), was caused by an uncontrolled explosion, Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák confirmed at the scene of the accident on Monday, August 12.

The death of a construction worker and the injuries of five others in the Šibenik D1 highway tunnel, under construction in the village of Spišský Hrhov (Prešov Region), was caused by an uncontrolled explosion, Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák confirmed at the scene of the accident on Monday, August 12.

“Around 1:00, the workers attempted to carry out a controlled explosion in the southern end of the tunnel,” the minister told the TASR newswire. “However, not all of the explosives detonated successfully, so a second controlled explosion was performed. Even that one failed, however, with some of the explosives not going off. Workers began to clean up the collected material that slid into the tunnel and that's when an uncontrolled explosion took place.”

Kaliňák added that police have already launched a criminal investigation into the fatality. “The man that lost his life was the explosives manager and was employed by a subcontractor.” When asked about the potential payment of compensation by the government, Kaliňák replied that such considerations are premature. Transport Minister Ján Počiatek added that most of the evidence has already been collected and, thus, construction of the tunnel is likely to resume within days.

Health Ministry state secretary Viliam Cislák detailed the injuries suffered by the five survivors, with one construction worker hospitalised due to severe head injuries, the other suffering fractured shin as well as facial bruises and another two having injuries to the face and leg, respectively. The fifth man had only minor injuries and was released after treatment.

The Sme daily wrote that the technically demanding section of the highway, Jánovce-Jablonov, is being built by a consortium of companies, Eurovia SK, Eurovia CZ and Stavby Mostov Slovakia, which hired the specialised Tubau company for the tunnel’s construction, and the Austin Powder Slovakia company to employ the workers. Sme reported that the construction companies could be blacklisted over the disaster. Generally, companies receive worse evaluations for failings when building roads, which would make winning state orders more difficult for them. After last year’s bridge-construction accident near Iliašovce, the ruling Smer party pushed through a central evidence of references.

(Source: TASR, Sme)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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