KOLONTAR, Hungary – The toxic red sludge that burst out of a Hungarian factory's reservoir and inundated three villages reached the mighty Danube on Thursday after wreaking havoc on smaller rivers and creeks, an emergency official said.
The European Union and environmental officials had feared an environmental catastrophe affecting half a dozen nations if the red sludge, a waste product of making aluminum, contaminated the Danube, Europe's second-longest river.
Officials from several nations downstream — Croatia, Serbia and Romania — were testing the river every few hours Thursday but hoping that the Danube's huge water volume would blunt the impact of the spill.
The reservoir break Monday disgorged a toxic torrent into creeks that flow into waterways connected to the Danube. Creeks in Kolontar, the western Hungarian village closest to the spill site, were swollen ochre red days later and villagers said they were devoid of fish. Kolontar is 45 miles (70 kilometers) south of the Danube.
The red sludge reached the western branch of the Danube early Thursday and its broad, main stretch by noon, Hungarian rescue agency spokesman Tibor Dobson told the state MTI news agency.
Read more in these articles from Yahoo News here and BBC here.