Scores Feared Dead in Albanian Explosions

Aged ammunition supply bunker blows; human error possible cause
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2008 12:04 PM CDT
An injured man is helped out of a car as he arrives at a military hospital in Tirana, following an explosion at an army base near Vora, eight miles north of the capital Tirana, on March 15, 2008.   (GENT SHKULAKU/AFP/Getty Images)
camera-icon View 7 more images

(Newser) – A series of massive explosions rocked an Albanian army base today, where teams were working to dismantle obsolete Soviet-era munitions, Reuters reports. More than 170 were injured, with at least four confirmed dead. “We do not know the exact number” of casualties, said the prime minister, “but we fear the worst for the three teams working there at the time.”

Police and army forces rushed to the base in armored cars, as people fled along the highway on foot. Helicopters were unable to land because of the continuing explosions. Flights from the capital–just 8 miles away–were delayed for 30 minutes. So far the cause of the blast is unclear. “I do not exclude human error,” said the prime minister.