On May 4th, a train freight crashed in the Belgian municipality Wetteren. The train was transporting dangerous chemical products which exploded, leading to a release of toxic substances in the air. Dozens of people were injured and one person died from the toxic fumes.
Starting May 7th, members of Belgian Defence (to which ICARUS coordinator RMA belongs) are deployed at the site in Wetteren to carry out measurements for the crisis centre. The deployed troops are specialised in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence. Searching for toxic products is one of their core tasks. What is special in this case is that they are carrying out these tasks within Belgium, instead of a foreign country. Other personnel of Defence is supporting the crisis centrum with advice, support and measurement equipment.
During this disaster management operation, no unmanned tools were deployed yet. It is our hope that - due to the developments within the ICARUS project - these dangerous operations can be carried out in the future more efficiently and with less risk to human lives, thanks to the use of unmanned tools.
Original Article text: An Lefaible - Picture Credit: Jürgen Braekvelt