A deadly explosion in St. Lucia has claimed the lives of 4 people and seriously injured almost 2 dozen others.
On Tuesday, the explosion – which could be heard from miles away, occurred at Farrand Quarry, in Cul de Sac, Castries, and is believed to have been caused by workers welding near a container loaded with explosive material – including dynamite.
The explosion – which occurred around 5:00pm, destroyed offices and several pieces of heavy duty equipment on site, as well as shattered glass windows and doors of nearby businesses.
3 people died at the scene and 22 others were rushed to the hospital – with some requiring immediate surgery. 1 man succumbed to his injuries shortly after arriving at the hospital, and another is still reported missing.
Officials at Victoria Hospital discharged patients who could manage their health care at home to make room for those injured in the explosion and neighboring island Martinique is helping treat the injured, by sending 3 doctors to St. Lucia and airlifting 4 patients back to Martinique for treatment.
Following the incident, St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet and Minister for Economic Development, Guy Joseph – who were attending a budget meeting at the time, visited the hospital and helped organize travel arrangements to Martinique.
While there, Prime Minister Chastanet expressed his condolences to the family and friends of the victims, and called on the nation to offer their prayers and support to those impacted by the explosion.
Police have officially launched an investigation into the explosion, and have begun collecting evidence from the scene to send to a laboratory in the U.S. for examination.