Germany: 1 still missing after chemical plant explosion

BERLIN – One person is still missing after an explosion at chemical firm BASF’s plant in the southwestern German city of Ludwigshafen that left at least two people dead, the company said Tuesday.

The fire at a river harbour in the sprawling facility was extinguished on Monday night, about 10 hours after the explosion, BASF said. As of Tuesday morning, it said one person was still missing, down from the two it previously reported.

Eight people were seriously injured and another 17 had light injuries, BASF said. It previously said six were seriously injured. Two members of the company’s fire service have been confirmed dead.

The explosion followed a fire in a pipeline between an area where liquids are unloaded from ships on the Rhine river and storage tanks. The BASF fire service had arrived at the scene when the blast occurred.

BASF said that the substances that burned in the subsequent blaze included ethylene — used in producing solvents and insulation — and propylene, used in producing car paint and adhesives.

It isn’t yet clear what caused the blast.