Cyprus naval blast a ’catastrophe of biblical proportions’
2011-07-11 0:00

From: CBC.ca / AP


Cyprus’s government spokesman says the country’s 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.


Monday’s explosion at the National Guard’s Evangelos Florakis Naval Base on the Mediterranean island’s 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 country’s largest AKEL party. "It’s 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 island’s 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 island’s 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 — I don’t 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 ’Bible’s Bad Guys’
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

Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan
2016-04-28 20:10
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North. The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night. A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked. The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons
2016-04-28 20:48
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough. Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield. Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims
2016-04-27 2:23
St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July. The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’
2016-04-27 2:09
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown. The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent. He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop
2016-04-25 23:10
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are. ... London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race. Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event. Marathon ...
More News »