Three die from gas leak at Port Everglades
Three longshoremen were killed Tuesday at Port Everglades when a tank of argon in the hold of a ship leaked.
Port spokesman Ellen Kennedy said the three employees of Florida Transportation Services were overcome when they went to investigate a leak from a tank container holding the gas on a Trinity Line ship, the Madeleine.
While argon is not intrinsically toxic — it is the third-largest component of the atmosphere after nitrogen and oxygen and comprises about 1 percent of ordinary air — it can suffocate by displacing oxygen in an enclosed space.
The gas was being loaded for shipment to Ecuador when the accident happened at around 3:30 a.m.
An inert gas, argon is used in many industrial applications — in welding, as a fill gas in light bulbs, in the manufacture of semiconductor crystals, and to prevent wine or pharmaceuticals from oxidizing.