Chinese river poisoned by cyanide
U.S. Water News Online
BEIJING -- Tons of deadly cyanide leaked into a river in
central China after the truck transporting it overturned, state media
and local officials said. Animals were poisoned and at least one
person was made ill by contamination.
The truck carrying 11 tons of liquid sodium cyanide overturned on
a rutted road along a tributary of the Luohe River, said a county
government official in Luoning, in Henan province about 500 miles
southwest of Beijing.
Henan authorities erected a pair of dams to contain the spill,
said the official, who gave only his surname, Yang. One man fell ill
after he ate sweet potatoes washed in contaminated water, Yang said.
The man has now recovered, Yang said.
The truck driver, who fled after the accident, has been detained,
Yang said. A representative from a gold mine that bought the cyanide
and four other men are also being held, he said. Mines use cyanide to
extract metals from ore.
Yang said the river flows into the Luohe, which provides drinking
water to the industrial city of Luoyang. But the Luohe hasn't been
contaminated, he said.
Police and soldiers poured tons of bleach and calx, similar to
lime, into the river to soak up the spill, said a Henan environmental
The official China Daily newspaper said livestock animals were
killed by the contamination but gave no details.
Results from 11 water testing stations showed that contamination
was limited to just a few miles of river between the two containment
dams, the newspaper said.
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