Germany

Ship carrying thousands of tonnes of acid capsizes on Rhine

Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay

Traffic on Germany's Rhine river, one of the main shipping arteries in Europe, has been suspended after a ship carrying 2,400 tonnes of sulphuric acid capsized near Sankt Goar, northwest of the city of Mainz. River police say the ship, the Waldhof, has completely turned over with its keel above the water line, but it is not yet clear if any acid has leaked into the river.

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Helicopters equipped with infrared cameras are circling the area in a search for two missing crew members. Two other crew members were earlier rescued,

Federal Shipping Administration spokesman, Martin Mauermann, said he did not know long shipping traffic would be blocked.

The accident occurred in the early hours of Thursday morning near a celebrated rock outcropping known as Lorelei, the name of a mythical nymph who is said to lure mariners to their deaths with hypnotic songs.

The site is above a particularly narrow point in the river where the current is very strong and many accidents have taken place in the past.

Melting snow and rain have swollen waterways in the western German region but it not yet known if this was a factor in the accident.

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