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Truck carrying cyanide crashes into river

Thursday 3 March 2016 | Published in Regional

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SUVA – A truck carrying a container of sodium cyanide to which crashed into a river in Fiji on Tuesday is yet to be removed. Authorities say so far there is no evidence of a toxic spill— although there have been varying reports.

Mineral Resources Department director Apete Soro said they were unsuccessful in removing the container and truck from the river.

A salvage team worked all night using two cranes to attempt remove the container from the narrow river bed but the effort wasn’t successful.

The company was on Wednesday arranging for a bigger crane to arrive to make another attempt remove the truck and container.

Director Soro confirmed that a team that inspected site had confirmed that there was no evidence of a spill of sodium cyanide into the Wainibuka River.

“We are still waiting for the analysis of a sample we got yesterday. Only then can we get a confirmation of the situation.

The truck had veered off the road and into the Wainibuka river, north of Suva along Kings Road on its way to the Vatukoula goldmines in the interior of Viti Levu.

Police Inspector Josaia Waicavu earlier said that the poisonous chemical may have spilled into the river.

“We are informing members of the public to not use the Wainibuka river or nearby creeks till further notice.

The driver received injuries and was conveyed to Korovou Hospital later to main hospital in Suva.

The National Disaster Management Office issued an urgent advisory for residents of settlements and villagers living along the Wainibuka River beginning from Wailotua village to the Rewa delta to refrain from using the river as a water source for washing, bathing, cooking or drinking.

Until authorities have completed all assessment works, residents living along these parts are advised against using the river, nearby tributaries and creeks as a water source.

Parents and guardians should also ensure that their children are safe and refrain from using the river.

- Newswire