Seven others hospitalised after traffic incident released 15,000 litres of anhydrous ammonia

A tanker carrying anhydrous ammonia was punctured during a traffic incident in Teutopolis, US, killing five people and hospitalising a further seven. The incident appears to have occurred while a car was attempting to overtake the truck on 30 September, according to local news reports.

Firefighters' discarded uniforms outside Teutopolis High School

Source: © Associated Press/Alamy Stock Photo

Emergency responders had to wait while the ammonia cloud dispersed sufficiently for them to enter the area

All five victims are believed to have died from exposure to ammonia after around 15,000 litres (4000 gallons) spilled from the punctured trailer. The local area was evacuated as wind carried the ammonia cloud. Local government confirmed later in the day that the chemical had dissipated sufficiently for people to return home.

The incident is being investigated by the National Transport Safety Board, including the cargo tank’s crash-worthiness and decisions made around the routing of the hazardous materials (the truck had diverted to avoid another truck crash on the nearby Interstate 70).