Seven Mexicans climbed into a large cistern at the Corona Beer Plant in Mexico and died. Thankfully, according to the news, production of beer for Cinco de Mayo was not interrupted.
From the DailyMail here:
Seven workers have died while cleaning a tank at one of Mexico’s main breweries.
The group were killed at the Grupo Modelo plant in Mexico City where Corona – one of America’s favourite imported beers – is made. An investigation is looking into whether they were overcome by toxic fumes during the incident yesterday.
Plant manager Francisco Lopez Bravo told local media the workers were trapped inside the cistern while doing maintenance work. He said there are no other risks at the brewery and that it continued to operate on Sunday.
The accident happened in a tank that was undergoing maintenance and cleaning, a spokeswoman for the company said in a statement. No details were provided. Grupo Modelo said it has informed authorities and has begun investigating the accident.
I don’t know if the plant uses any heavier-than-air gases in the cleaning and purging processes in the tanks- gases like argon, carbon dioxide, etc. Having been a former welder, environments in solid steel tanks can kill you very quickly. Argon is used heavily as a shielding agent for welding and in other industries to purge air from containers, but it is far denser than oxygen. In fact, if you inhale a lung-full of argon, it is unlikely you could survive for very long. Many of these tragedies occur when someone tries to enter an argon-filled tank to rescue someone else, and that person also succumbs, followed by another and another. I blogged this while drinking a Corona-rita. FTW