A general view after a series of explosions at grain silos owned by agro-industrial cooperative C Vale, in the city of Palotina, Parana State, Brazil, July 27, 2023. Photo: Reuters/Brazil’s Parana Firefighters
Eight people were killed and 11 injured in a series of silo explosions at the site of an agricultural cooperative in Brazil’s southern Parana state, authorities said Thursday.
The blasts Wednesday on the premises of the C Vale agroindustrial company in the municipality of Palotina also left a “last victim” still “under corn and debris from the explosion,” state firefighting officials said in a statement Thursday night.
“Firefighting teams are propping up the structures and moving the corn to finish the rescue,” the statement added.
An initial toll late Wednesday had listed two dead and two injured.
“There was an explosion in one of the silos that triggered a second and a third,” Parana fire brigade spokesman Tiago Zajac told AFP.
Video distributed on social media and broadcast by news outlets showed a vast column of white smoke coming from the site, and Palotina residents reported feeling a tremor as windows in several homes were blown out.
C. Vale, a major producer of soybeans, wheat and corn, in a statement confirmed that a “large-scale accident hit our central grain reception unit in Palotina… due to causes yet to be determined.”
Company boss Alfredo Lang said in a video he was “appalled by the tragedy,” adding that a technical team was working on determining the causes.
Several dozen firefighters were deployed to the municipality of about 30,000 inhabitants.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva sent his “condolences and solidarity to the workers and their families”