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Accident at US Port Causes Evacuation

Authorities ordered a U.S. port to shut down and asked thousands of nearby residents to evacuate Tuesday, following an accident that punctured containers of highly explosive material.

Officials in the eastern U.S. state of North Carolina said they ordered the measures as a precaution after a forklift, a type of industrial vehicle used to move containers, at the Morehead City Port poked a hole in several containers of an explosive known as PETN, pentaerythritol tetranitrate. The explosive is often used in military explosives and other detonators.

It is also the same material found in the underwear of a Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a U.S.-bound airplane on December 25.

Officials urged any residents who did not evacuate to stay away from windows and doors.

Officials say the Morehead City Port is a major transit point for chemicals, including phosphates and sulfur products, and routinely handles explosive materials. The port is also one of the deepest on the country's East Coast.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.