NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


NTSB ISSUES UPDATE ON FATAL CHEMICAL ACCIDENT IN SOUTH CAROLINA

August 17, 2009

In its continuing investigation of the July 2009 accident involving the release of anhydrous ammonia during a transfer operation, the National Transportation Safety Board has developed the following factual information:

At about 8:00 a.m. on July 15, a cargo transfer hose ruptured shortly after the transfer of anhydrous ammonia began from a cargo tank truck to a storage tank at the Tanner Industries plant in Swansea, South Carolina. A white cloud of anhydrous ammonia, a highly toxic gas, traveled across the parking lot of the facility toward U.S. Highway 321.  A motorist driving north on the highway at the time was fatally injured as a result of ammonia poisoning. Additionally, seven people went to the Lexington Medical Center Emergency Department complaining of respiratory issues and dizziness.

As part of its on-scene work, investigators documented the accident site, including the ruptured hose, conducted interviews with employees on-site at the time of the accident, and collected relevant documents. The Safety Board completed the on-scene portion of its investigation on July 17, 2009, and released the cargo tank truck and storage tank to Werner Transportation and Tanner Industries, respectively. The ruptured hose is at the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington D.C.  The Safety Board plans to conduct a group examination of the hose at its lab and has invited parties to the investigation to participate. Parties to the NTSB investigation include Tanner Industries, Werner Transportation, and South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Lexington County Department of Public Safety, and Eaton Corporation.

NTSB Office of Public Affairs: (202) 314-6100

 

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.