Cyprus naval blast a ícatastrophe of biblical proportionsí
2011-07-11 0:00

From: CBC.ca / AP


Cyprusís government spokesman says the countryís defence minister and the head of the National Guard have resigned over a deadly explosion at a naval base that killed 12 people and injured more than 60.


Mondayís explosion at the National Guardís Evangelos Florakis Naval Base on the Mediterranean islandís southern coast occurred when a brush fire set off containers of gunpowder that had been confiscated from a ship two years ago.

Government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said Defence Minister Costas Papacostas resigned, as did the National Guard Chief, Petros Tsalikides. He said investigators have ruled out sabotage.

State radio said the dead included two Cyprus navy sailors, two soldiers and five firefighters.

"We were devastated by this event, not so much by the material damage, but by the loss of human lives and the injury of many of our compatriots," said President Dimitris Christofias, who visited the naval base after the blast.

He described the scene at the base as a "a catastrophe of biblical proportions."

A Defence Ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was not complete, said the blast appeared to have been caused by a brush fire that broke out nearby and spread to the base.

The fire ignited gunpowder stored in containers that Cypriot authorities confiscated in February 2009 from a ship sailing off its coast. The ship, the Cypriot-flagged Monchegorsk, had been suspected of carrying the gunpowder from Iran to Gaza.

Fire department spokesman Leonidas Leonidou said firefighters received a call at 4:27 a.m. saying the fire was inside the base and near the containers.

"Whether it started on or off the base, and how it started, we cannot say," he told the AP.


Video from: YouTube.com


"This is a tragedy for Cyprus," said Andros Kyprianou, leader of the countryís largest AKEL party. "Itís not exaggeration to say this is a massive catastrophe. The physical damage will be repaired, but the lives lost ... nothing can bring them back."

The concussion wave from the blast severely damaged the islandís main power station, leading to power cuts in several areas, including the southern town of Larnaca. Authorities appealed to the public to limit their electricity consumption, which has spiked amid a three-day heatwave that has led to temperatures of about 40 degrees Celsius.

Airport authorities said both Paphos and Larnaca airports were reducing power consumption to the minimum possible and had turned on their generators.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture Ministry also urged the public to reduce water consumption as much as possible because desalination plants had been taken offline due to power problems.

Power station remains online
Cyprus Electricity Authority official Yiannis Tsouloftas said the power station would remain offline for at least the rest of the day. The islandís two other smaller power stations were trying to cover electricity demand, Tsouloftas said.

"There are several parts of the island that are without power," Costas Gavrilidis, a spokesman for state power utility AHK, told state-run CyBC television.

CyBC footage showed numerous damaged cars stopped along a stretch of highway near the base. One person who was in a car passing the base at the time of the explosion told CyBC that it felt like "a bomb had been dropped on the car."

The broadcaster said the explosion also caused extensive damage to homes in villages near the naval base.

"I was driving to work and it was like a lightning bolt. It damaged the car and there was smashed glass and debris everywhere," Antonis Savvas, who received hospital treatment after the blast, told the TV station. "It was raining dust and debris ó I donít know how else to describe it. Thank God nobody in the car was hurt badly, the only thing that happened was this," he said nodding toward his injured arm in a sling.

Greek Defence Minister Panos Beglitis said Greece stood ready to provide any help that might be needed.

Article from: cbc.ca




Related Articles
Israel: Unearthed íBibleís Bad Guysí
Israeli software supports theory that Bible was written by multiple authors
USGS: California prepare for "Inevitable" biblical "ARkStorm"
In a Computer Worm, a Possible Biblical Clue
Friday the 13th Superstitions Rooted in Bible and More
Cyprus: Zygi naval base munitions blast kills 12


Latest News from our Front Page

Who Needs a Billboard? New Ads of the Future Will Be Beamed Directly into Your Head
2015-07-31 21:00
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to randomly come down with a touch of schizophrenia? Probably not. Or if you did, it was probably in a nightmare. Well now, with the help of a little futuristic technology, companies who just can’t get over themselves long enough to respect your privacy for one second can make your worst nightmares come ...
Forget About The Apple Watch, Implantables Are Coming
2015-07-31 21:13
That is right, the implantable. In the past decade of tech innovation, connectivity has been the name of the game. Call your friend in the middle of the night in Antarctica. Facetime with your sister on vacation in India. Talk about the movie you saw with friends in London. Anything is possible with the push of a button and now ...
"Too many white people" in Pittsburgh says government official
2015-07-31 2:14
According to Abby Wilson, the deputy director of the Department of Health’s Bureau of Public Policy and Community Relations in Allegheny County, there are too many White people in Pittsburgh. She left Pittsburgh to work in South Africa and then study in the Netherlands, but now that she’s back, she wants to change it. “My two main gripes (about Pittsburgh) are: too ...
Judge blocks group from releasing more Planned Parenthood videos
2015-07-31 2:35
The pro-life group behind a series of undercover Planned Parenthood videos accused the bioservice firm StemExpress late Wednesday of trying to ‚Äúcover up this illegal baby parts trade‚ÄĚ after the company obtained a court order blocking the release of footage. The Los Angeles Superior Court issued a temporary injunction Tuesday stopping the Center for Medical Progress from releasing any video showing ...
US Fish & Wildlife Service Investigating Killing Of Cecil The Lion
2015-07-31 2:18
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the agency is investigating the killing of Cecil the Lion, saying it will ‚Äúgo where facts lead.‚ÄĚ The agency made the announcement via Twitter Thursday. Also Thursday, the Eden Prairie Police Department said that, while they will be stepping up neighborhood monitoring, they will not be providing personal protection for the dentist who killed ...
More News »