German blast death toll rises to five

Police are investigating what caused a fatal explosion that rocked the Chempark site in Leverkusen.
Police are investigating what caused a fatal explosion that rocked the Chempark site in Leverkusen.

Three more people have been found dead after an explosion at an industrial park in western Germany, bringing the death toll from the blast to five, police and prosecutors say.

They said they would not provide further details until the dead had been identified.

Police are investigating what caused the explosion that rocked the Chempark site in Leverkusen, home to chemicals companies including Bayer and Lanxess, and led to a fire in a tank containing solvents.

Thirty-one people were injured in the explosion and two more are still missing.

Experts are also analysing whether soot that rained down on the surrounding area after the blast could be toxic.

Results are expected on Friday at the earliest.

The local fire department had said that residents should avoid getting the soot on their skin until the results are in, should not eat fruit from their gardens and avoid bringing the soot into the house on their shoes.

Authorities also closed playgrounds in the area.

Australian Associated Press