TEKAMAH, Nebraska — A deadly gas leak from a pipeline carrying anhydrous ammonia killed a motorist and forced authorities to shut down a highway in rural Nebraska.
The leak from the eight-inch pipe, spilled 294,000 gallons of the substance which created a deadly cloud of gas that proved fatal to a 59-year-old farmer as he drove through it late Monday night.
He was identified as Phillip Hennig, who lived about a quarter mile away in Tekamah, according to the Omaha World-Record.
Authorities shut down a stretch of highway running near the faulty pipe for at least 24 hours. About 40 residents living in the vicinity were evacuated.
The gas, which is used as a farm fertilizer, can cause difficulty breathing and can be fatal in high doses.
The cause of the leak was not clear. The pipeline, which is owned by the Oklahoma-based Magellan Midstream Partners LP is 1,100 miles long and runs from Texas to Minnesota.
“We express our deepest sympathies over the tragic death of the local resident last night,” said Mike Mears, Magellan’s chief executive officer.