Thursday, December 6th 2012 - 22:52 UTC

Terrible Thursday for Buenos Aires: toxic gas cloud scare and flash floods

Terrible Thursday for the city of Buenos Aires: toxic gas scare in the morning with almost panic situations and flooding mid afternoon by the same rains that helped clear the cloud hovering over residents with sore throats and irritated eyes.

Residents with handkerchiefs cover mouth and nostrils for protection

Cars floating in flooded streets of the port area

The cloud of toxic gas rose early Thursday near the central port area and remained hanging until rain and wind helped disperse it. Argentine government officials at the scene confirmed that a shipping container's contents had set on fire, later denied, causing a cloud of gas to spread around the city.

The container was said to have been holding highly chemical pesticides and insecticides.

The incident provoked a temporary panic on initial discovery of the fire as the container was first reported to have contained mercury.

However as the cloud was dispersing torrential rains poured on Buenos Aires flash flooding the low parts or the city, interrupting public transport, with partial blackouts and tens of abandoned or parked private cars floating.

Argentina’s national secretary for security Sergio Berni cleared up the morning chaos and mixed reportage, confirming that the fire had been put out and making it clear that the chemical substances inside the container were of “little danger.”

However local news agencies reported that the staunch smell of rotten waste and irritating to breathe and for the eyes was reported in a radius of five to seven miles from the port including such emblematic neighbourhoods as Congress, Government House, the financial centre and some of the most expensive areas in downtown Buenos Aires.

Much of the commercial and financial activity was suspended in the area under the influence of the toxic gas cloud.

Federal Police and Naval Command officers earlier advised that people keep their windows closed as a precaution and pedestrians to cover their mouths and nostrils with a handkerchief. Argentina’s meteorological service informed that the strong smell was being spreads across to the south of the city due to “strong south-easterly winds.”

“The situation is completely under control. What needs to be highlighted is the brave decision of the Federal Police, who risked their lives and opened the container, not knowing what was inside,” Sergio Berni said.

“There was a pesticide inside the container whose main ingredient was solid carbonate. Now forensics are going to analyse all of the evidence to work out what started the whole thing”, added Berni.

Port authorities where the incident started denied there had been a fire but rather that the pesticides gases concentrated in the container and emanating effectively was the cause of the cloud that covered much of the port area in the morning.

“The substance is not toxic to inhale but it is by contagion or ingestion” warned the port authorities who said they were also waiting for the results of the different experts’ reports.

Meantime rescue teams that had been sent out for the toxic gas emergency had to appeal to ropes and light zodiacs to help stranded city dwellers and visitors to safe places.

33 comments Feed

Note: Comments do not reflect MercoPress’ opinions. They are the personal view of our users. We wish to keep this as open and unregulated as possible. However, rude or foul language, discriminative comments (based on ethnicity, religion, gender, nationality, sexual orientation or the sort), spamming or any other offensive or inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated. Please report any inadequate posts to the editor. Comments must be in English. Thank you.

1 Shed-time (#) Dec 06th, 2012 - 11:00 pm Report abuse
Did the gas cloud erupt from a pile of their 'fresh top quality beef' or a lemon truck?

I think we should be told.
2 Xect (#) Dec 06th, 2012 - 11:10 pm Report abuse
Sometimes reading about Buenos Aires reminds me of playing SimCity or Tropico.

Sounds like an exceptionally unlucky day for the residents.
3 Falkland Islands (#) Dec 06th, 2012 - 11:18 pm Report abuse
Sure it was not her BOTOX expoding from her face when she finds tourist vessels are still calling in on the Falkland Islands?
4 Shed-time (#) Dec 06th, 2012 - 11:21 pm Report abuse
I think if her botox exploded their would have been more mention of earth tremors.
5 Clyde15 (#) Dec 06th, 2012 - 11:35 pm Report abuse
Has Timerman made another speech ?
6 Falkland Islands (#) Dec 06th, 2012 - 11:41 pm Report abuse
well that could explain the toxic gas :)
7 Shed-time (#) Dec 06th, 2012 - 11:41 pm Report abuse
Has KFC queefed?
8 Falkland Islands (#) Dec 06th, 2012 - 11:50 pm Report abuse
and when they get the all clear “K's Fart Cancelled”
9 ElaineB (#) Dec 06th, 2012 - 11:51 pm Report abuse
Some of my friends were quite worried about this. They do not trust anything CFKC says so if the government says it is all fine they think it must be terrible.
10 Orbit (#) Dec 07th, 2012 - 12:00 am Report abuse
Timerman will be on the first flight out to the Vatican, demanding action against God and His predatory rain. Mr Timerman will claim God has been meteorologising the South Atlantic, and that Argentina is firmly supported by Mercosur. “I was in Brazil recently and it rained there, so this is not one country's problem but a regional issue” he quacked.
11 Xect (#) Dec 07th, 2012 - 12:02 am Report abuse
Haha Orbit, very good!
12 Falkland Islands (#) Dec 07th, 2012 - 12:09 am Report abuse
I like that one too, sounds sooo much like him.
13 Shed-time (#) Dec 07th, 2012 - 12:13 am Report abuse
It clearly is a regional issue. An issue with her lower regions.
14 Falkland Islands (#) Dec 07th, 2012 - 12:23 am Report abuse
it does appear to be regional problems, the same sh*t pops out from all Orifices.
15 andy65 (#) Dec 07th, 2012 - 12:27 am Report abuse
Couldn't happen to a nicer country
16 ptolemy (#) Dec 07th, 2012 - 12:30 am Report abuse
It started out smelling like burning cabbage but the smell keep getting stronger. Luckily we are located a fair distance from the port so it wasn't as bad as others had it. Afterwards there was heavy rain flooding the city and power cuts. Power has been out across the street for the last 6 hours. I still have partial power in my house. All and all another craptacular day in BA. (On another note, the media law, the one the Govt. wants to use to suppress the opposition will not go into effect tomorrow. They are pissed.)
17 Troy Tempest (#) Dec 07th, 2012 - 01:00 am Report abuse
And to 'Think” the Trolls were making fun of NYC after Hurricane Sandy sheesh!!!
18 agent999 (#) Dec 07th, 2012 - 01:18 am Report abuse
“Don't you love the southern summertime!! And it's finally really warm in the mornings, which gets your blood flowing for some pool time in the hot sunny afternoons... can't really get into the pool if the morning is cool and the water is freezing.”
19 yankeeboy (#) Dec 07th, 2012 - 01:42 am Report abuse
I think Chrissy should ask Monsanto to develop a Soy plant that will grow under water.

So hard to have your whole economy dependent on one crop

I hear the wheat crop is abysmal I will laugh and laugh if they have to buy wheat from the USA.

laugh and laugh

Barley para todos
20 andy65 (#) Dec 07th, 2012 - 03:12 am
Comment removed by the editor.
21 reality check (#) Dec 07th, 2012 - 09:42 am Report abuse
I am glad no one died or was seriously injured, if they had been, it would have, as usual, been some poor innocent sod.
22 Gordo1 (#) Dec 07th, 2012 - 09:42 am Report abuse
Surely there has been “toxicity” around Bs As for several years now? Nothing new!
23 Optimus_Princeps (#) Dec 07th, 2012 - 11:45 am Report abuse
My cousin must be running for cover. If they say “it's fine”. That means “You just inhaled highly toxic gas, consult a doctor, and get to a safe environment immediately.”
24 andy65 (#) Dec 07th, 2012 - 12:23 pm Report abuse
Any more news on bad smells today or as Crissy not got out of bed yet????
25 redpoll (#) Dec 07th, 2012 - 01:46 pm Report abuse
Ho ho ho! See a cruise ship tied up at the dock had to be evacuated. An unexpected adventure for the tourists aboard. I suspect some of them may now sue the cruise company who will in turn sue the Argentine authorities. Of course the company wont be paid a cent and the other cruise companies will conclude that the BA port is not a safe destination for thier clients.
To change the scenario, can you imagine the repercussions if a similar act of negligence had occured in the port of Tema with the Libertad tied up at the dock??
26 Britworker (#) Dec 07th, 2012 - 02:32 pm Report abuse
Yes I can just see the cruise liners queuing up to expose their customers to toxic gas and sewage infused flood waters. The place sounds bloody aweful.
27 yankeeboy (#) Dec 07th, 2012 - 02:40 pm Report abuse
Wheat crop est 10MM Arg needs 8MM for the internal consumption. We shall see in 2 weeks if they need to buy some from the USA.

Soy planing is well behind last year, if the rains keep up disaster looms.


Even normal showers at this point play a negative role by sustaining waterlogged conditions. Forecasts of heavy rains for the end of this week tuned out to be accurate when Buenos Aires was brought to a soggy standstill on Thursday.

Pedestrians ended up wading through waist-high floods in heavily populated urban areas. Police in the worst-hit neighborhoods fastened ropes across intersections to steady afternoon commuters as they crossed.
28 Conqueror (#) Dec 07th, 2012 - 02:51 pm Report abuse
@16 Naughty. You should have said “They are inebriated.” That explains what they spend your taxes on. As well as botox and wedding celebrations.
@23 Is there a “safe” environment anywhere in argieland?
@25 What repercussions? All those sails could make lovely swimming pools. When they need to be emptied, just cut holes in the bottom. And the boat itself could be turned upside down and used as a shelter.
29 redpoll (#) Dec 07th, 2012 - 02:54 pm Report abuse
Yes look up Riachuelo or arroyo Matanza for both industrial and political pollution. And Argentina has the gall to accuse Uruguay of polluting the Rio Uruguay whereas the real polluters are Argentine principally from the rio Gualeguaychu. This is monitored by the binacional commission CARU but the Argentine delegates flatly refuse to allow the figures to be published in direct contravention of the ICJ judgement
30 ChrisR (#) Dec 07th, 2012 - 06:46 pm Report abuse
As an atheist I have to say there is something of the Old Testament about this.

Foul waters, poisons in the air, dead bodies in the floods, blackness throughout the area (is the electricity on yet?) and TMBOA spending her time on the immensely important issue of closing Clarin down.

I wonder when the locusts arrive to feed on the dried out carcases of animals and (hopefully) AG ‘ministers’.

You’re all doomed, doomed I say!

Ha, ha, ha.
31 Pete Bog (#) Dec 09th, 2012 - 10:09 pm Report abuse
Maximos thugs:Tourists-If you go to the Falklands you can't dock here.
Tourists: As your way of attracting tourists is to gas us and give us sh1t weather-OK, let's go to Stanley instead.
32 British_Kirchnerist (#) Dec 14th, 2012 - 09:31 pm Report abuse
Nice messages of sympathy for the victims I see....
33 Troy Tempest (#) Dec 15th, 2012 - 02:45 am Report abuse
@32 BK
“Nice messages of sympathy for the victims I see....”

Oh my god!! Another frickin' limp d!ck comment BK !!

You've really lost it BK - another token post, just to say you did??

Yes, I think we do realise how terrible it must be for the victims.

However, do you remember when you Trolls were gloating over the victims of Hurricane Sandy in the USA??

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!


Get Email News Reports!

Get our news right on your inbox.
Subscribe Now!