Not Good in an Undersea Tunnel: Gas Truck Explosion

Collapse feared in Norway as seawater seeps in after tanker hits wall
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 15, 2015 1:06 PM CDT
Not Good in an Undersea Tunnel: Gas Truck Explosion
Smoke pours from the Skatestraum tunnel after a fuel truck crashed into its side, triggering a series of explosions in Bremanger, Norway, Wednesday, July 15, 2015.   (Daniel Restad / NTB Scanpix via AP)

Sea water leaked dangerously into an undersea tunnel in western Norway today after a fuel truck crashed into the tunnel's side, triggering a series of explosions. The leaks prompted fears the tunnel could collapse, police said. The accident and subsequent explosions took place around 11am in the nearly 1.2-mile Skatestraum tunnel, which links two islands in the Sogn og Fjordane region north of the city of Bergen. Truck driver Tore Myrestrand told the Firda newspaper he had problems with the brakes in the deepest part of the tunnel, which is 300 feet below sea level. After the crash, he said he escaped from the truck and grabbed an emergency phone in the tunnel.

Authorities immediately closed the tunnel to everyone except firefighters. Thick black smoke billowed out of the tunnel after the explosions and a subsequent fire caused by the tanker, which had detached from the truck. The firefighters later were evacuated as the sea water began to leak in, police said on Twitter, adding there were fears the tunnel would collapse. Thousands of gallons of sea water slowly flooded in, reducing the smoke. Police said six people were treated for minor smoke inhalation at a nearby hospital. (More tunnel stories.)

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