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Accident Report Detail

Surtigas, S.A., Tank-Semitrailer Overturn, Explosion, and Fire

Executive Summary

‚ÄčAt 4:20 p.m. on April 29, 1975, a Surtigas, S.A., tractor-tank-semitrailer, westbound on U.S. Route 277 near Eagle Pass, Texas, swerved to avoid an automobile ahead which was slowing for a turn. The tank-semitrailer separated from the tractor, struck a concrete headwall, and ruptured; vaporized LPG was released. The ensuing fire and explosion destroyed a building and 51 vehicles. The 51 persons who were in the area were burned and 16 persons, including the truckdriver, were killed.

Probable Cause

‚ÄčThe National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the evasive action taken by the truckdriver to avoid a slowing vehicle in his path of travel. The cause of the fatalities and injuries to persons in the vicinity was the explosive force and fire, from which they had no time to escape. The rapid development of the explosive force and fire was caused by the gross rupture of the tank.

Accident Location: Eagle Pass , TX    
Accident Date: 4/29/1975
Accident ID: 79877

Date Adopted: 5/5/1976
NTSB Number: HAR-76-04
NTIS Number: PB-254034/AS

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