The Balearics' worst natural disaster was miraculously avoided yesterday when a 27-tonne fuel truck jack-knifed and spilled its load along the Alcudia to Sa Pobla road, contaminating a canal which runs straight in to the heart of the Albufera Natural Park. The accident happened at 12.30 when the lorry, carrying 15 tonnes of fuel to the es Murterar power station, over turned, blocking the road and sparking an environmental alert. Fire crews, police, council engineers and members from the Environment Ministry were on the scene within minutes. Because of the rapid response from the emergency units, the seven tonnes of fuel which spilled in to the canal to the Natural Park, were prevented from reaching the nature reserve and leaking in to other link canals. One of the first people at the scene was the Mayor of Alcudia, Miguel Ferrer, who set to work organising the emergency operation and preventing a catastrophe. A fleet of lorries ferried sand back and forth to the scene throughout the afternoon, while firemen pumped the remaining fuel out of the crippled tanker, and the clean up operation continued into the evening. At 6.30, engineers set about trying to lift the lorry and re-open the road.

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