At least nine people have died and nearly a dozen others wounded after a grain silo explosion on July 26 at C.Vale agricultural cooperative in southern Brazil, the state government of Paraná said.
According to reports, C.Vale, which stores soybeans, wheat and corn in 125 units across five Brazilian states and in Paraguay, is located in the small town of Palotina, about 370 miles from the state's capital Curitiba. Paraná is one of Brazil's top grain-producing states.
C.Vale confirmed in a statement on its website that a large-scale accident hit its central grain reception unit in Palotina Wednesday at 4:50 p.m.
In its latest update, C.Vale said the cooperative's safety teams are assisting the victims' families. The cause of the explosion is under investigation.
Update: 8 workers killed were temporary workers from Haiti
Eight of the victims of the blast were temporary workers from Haiti and not directly employed by C.Vale. The Haitians were temporary workers who had been outsourced from a local cargo transportation union for the peak of the grain season, a company spokesperson told Reuters.
Firefighters rescued the body of the ninth and last victim after five days of searching. The victim was identified as Wicken Celestin, a 55-year-old Haitian refugee who worked in a tunnel that passed under the warehouse destroyed by the explosion. Part of the grain stored in the silo, with a capacity was 11,000 tons, fell onto the warehouse after the explosion.
Victims ranged from 24 to 55 years old and included one Brazilian national, C.Vale said in statement.
- Louis Michelet, 41
- Jean Michee Joseph, 29
- Jean Ronald Calix, 27
- Donald St Cyr, 24
- Alfred Lesperance, 44
- Eugenio Meteleus, 52
- Reginald Gefrard, 30
- Saulo da Rocha Batista, 53
- Wicken Celestin, 55