Interstellar News Network
Wednesday, Jan 18, 2164
"The people in the dock never had a chance," said Dana Parr, a dock loader who saw the tanker smash to the neighboring docking port.
Chief Alfred Lerchey of the NAC Transportation Authority, said the number of dead could rise in the accident that occurred shortly before 3 p.m., creating a cloud of smoke and debris that could be seen from the Tuffley Thrust Starship Yards, several thousand kilometers away.
At least three other freighters were burned down to their frames during the enormous, hour-long fire. Foam dispensed by firefighters covered all avenues in and out of the docking port and layered a white coating over mangled ships. The main hull of the station within 100 meters of the docking port was also scorched.
Seventy people have been confirmed dead from the accident. Another twenty-seven are missing.
Mitzi Zamora, the station's superintendent, said five ships were involved - three freighters and two docking tugs. The fire burned much of the soft metal on the ships, but investigators hoped to get identification numbers from the remaining frame structures.
"It's a mangled mess," she said.
All ports on the station are closed for the time being. Ships scheduled to use this station are being directed to other facilities for the time being. Most ports on the far side of the station should be able to re-open within a day or two.
Officials were concerned about the structural integrity of the station. The freighter all but took out the entire docking port from the station. Zamora said engineers were testing the metal and other parts of its structure.
"We understand the impact this has on traffic," Zamora said. "This is the major docking station for hazardous materials in the system ... We're doing everything we can to open the other docking ports."
The Alarishi government has been contacted about the accident.
Wendy Han, a station worker whose apartment has a view of the docking port, was sleeping when she felt a 'crump.'
"I looked out the port and saw the first bit of fire and explosions for what seemed like 15 minutes," Han said. "I watched the fire burn away much of the docking port. It was a pretty amazing thing - I checked myself several times to see if I was awake. I don't know how many people were in there, but I can't imagine anyone surviving that inferno. It's very sad."
The NAC Transportation Safety Board has dispatched a team of investigators.