Local media have hospitalized at least 15 people in the southeastern Serbian city of Pirot and declared an emergency situation following an ammonia leak caused by a freight train derailed nearby.
was a child among the people who were hospitalized in nearby Nis with symptoms of poisoning, according to Monday’s reports. No one is in life-threatening condition, they added.
News portal Nova S reported that there was fog and a strong smell of ammonia in Pirot, a town of 60,000 inhabitants, on Monday morning.
Schools and kindergartens were closed due to the emergency situation and people were advised not to go out unless necessary.
The 20-car train transported ammonia from the Bulgarian company Agropolychim to Serbian fertilizer manufacturer Zorka Eliksir in the city of Sabac, 90 kilometers (almost 56 miles) west of Belgrade.
According to media reports, two wagons had left the tracks on Sunday afternoon and tipped over, causing one to leak.
Probe is in progress
An investigation is underway to determine what caused the accident, authorities said.
Infrastructure Minister Goran Vesic said the immediate concern, however, is to manage the situation on the ground and prevent further damage.
“The accident was probably caused by poor infrastructure,” he said at a press conference.
He added that authorities will also check whether strict procedures for transporting toxic substances have been breached.