Warren Anderson of Bhopal gas tragedy infamy passes away

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 01, 2014 13:23 IST

Warren M Anderson, who was the chairman of the US-based Union Carbide Corporation when a poisonous gas leak at the company’s plant in Bhopal killed thousands, is dead.

He died on September 29 at a nursing home in Vero Beach, Florida, The New York Times reported Friday. He was 92.

His death, which was not announced by his family, was confirmed from public records, the report stated.

The poisonous gas leak from the Union Carbide plant killed more than 5,000 people on the night of December 2-3, 1984, in the Madhya Pradesh capital. It remains one of the world’s worst industrial accidents.

The report said in an interview with The New York Times five months after the tragedy, Anderson spoke of his feelings of loss and helplessness. "You wake up in the morning thinking, can it have occurred?" he said. "And then you know it has and you know it's something you're going to have to struggle with for a long time."

The Madhya Pradesh police had Anderson after he arrived in Bhopal four days after the disaster.

According to the NYT report, Anderson was highly praised for his courage in going to Bhopal four days after the accident, where he was immediately arrested. But after quickly paying bail, he never returned to face trial.

In August this year, a US court dealt a blow to hopes of gas tragedy victims by ruling that the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) could not be sued for the ongoing contamination from the chemical plant.

Nongovernmental organisation EarthRights International had filed the lawsuit in the Southern District of New York on behalf of residents of Bhopal, saying land and water of the citizens are being contaminated by waste from the plant.

EarthRights said as per the court's ruling, Union Carbide could not be sued despite evidence that construction of the plant was managed by an employee of the company.

EarthRights expressed confidence that there was enough evidence against Union Carbide that would lead to a reversal of the "erroneous decision on appeal".

Read: Anderson died unpunished, say survivors of Bhopal gas tragedy

With inputs from agencies

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