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Police close investigation of Šibenik tunnel explosion

BOTH EXPLOSIVES manager Rastislav Mihálik and his employer, Austin Powder Slovakia, were found to be responsible for the tragedy in the Šibenik tunnel near Levoča, a stretch along the D1 cross-country highway, the police investigation showed. The incident claimed the life of an explosives manager, and left five others injured.

BOTH EXPLOSIVES manager Rastislav Mihálik and his employer, Austin Powder Slovakia, were found to be responsible for the tragedy in the Šibenik tunnel near Levoča, a stretch along the D1 cross-country highway, the police investigation showed. The incident claimed the life of an explosives manager, and left five others injured.

Now that the police have the investigation results, they have halted the criminal prosecution in the case of causing death and serious bodily harm, as it is not possible to prosecute the deceased, Mihálik, Prešov police spokesperson Daniel Džobanik told the TASR newswire on March 31.

The investigation revealed that Mihálik failed to follow the proper procedure for disposing of an unexploded bomb, as recommended by the bomb’s manufacturer and the related laws. According to the investigation’s results, the explosion could have been avoided if he had followed the guidelines, Džobanik added, as reported by TASR.

Tests revealed no presence of alcohol or drugs in Mihálik’s system. Moreover, the investigators confirmed that despite prompt and professional medical aid, nobody was able to save his life.

The investigation also showed that Mihálik’s employer, company Austin Powder Slovakia, also violated rules regarding work health and safety, as well as mining rules and the Labour Code. The labour inspectorate and the mining authority will now handle the case and impose possible punishment, Džobanik said.

The explosion occurred in the Šibenik tunnel near Spišský Hrhov, in the Levoča district, on August 12, 2013 shortly after half past four in the morning. A preliminary investigation by the police and the District Mining Authority in Spišská Nová Ves found there were two planned blasts in the tunnel, during which some of the explosives failed to ignite. When Mihálik and another five men went to check the site, an uncontrolled explosion occurred, causing a landslide.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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