CATALONIA

Video suggests that dead birds found in Tarragona were hit by a vehicle, not killed by a toxic cloud

There are fears over the cause of the deaths, given that the animals were discovered near a Spanish chemical plant that recently suffered a major explosion

Security camera footage from an industrial park in Tarragona, in northeastern Spain, has shed light on what caused the death of more than 100 birds that were discovered on Sunday on a highway near the site.

The footage shows a car driving into a flock of low-flying starlings, some of which start dropping to the ground. Investigators from the Catalan department of agriculture had already posited the theory that the birds might have been hit by a vehicle on the busy highway that connects Tarragona with the municipality of Salou.

The bodies of the animals were found near the Iqoxe chemical plant, where an explosion in January killed three people and injured seven others, leading to speculation about the possibility of a toxic cloud behind the death of the starlings.

The results of a postmortem examination of several birds have not been officially released yet, but investigators ruled out the toxic cloud hypothesis on Sunday, as there were no reports of leaks in the area.

Instead, Catalan officials said that the 150 birds were probably hit by a vehicle or electrocuted by power lines. The utility Endesa ruled out this latter option on Tuesday, saying there are no records of power flow disruptions, which occur when an object or animal hits a transmission line. Endesa also said there are no transmission towers near the spot where the birds were found dead, although investigators noted that there is one tower located around 50 meters from the site.

English version by Susana Urra.