Monday, 4 October 2010 - A reservoir burst its banks at an alumina plant in Ajka, Hungary, releasing a flood of some 1.1 million cubic meters of toxic residues. Kolontar, the village nearest the reservoir, was immediately engulfed by a torrent of red sludge.
Zoltan Illes, Hungary’s Secretary of State for Environmental Affairs, visited Kolontar the day after the spill, calling it an “environmental disaster”.
EADS Astrium subsidiary Spot Image tasked the FORMOSAT-2 satellite to acquire imagery of the disaster area. A first image, centered on the reservoir and nearby villages, was acquired on October 7. It clearly shows the breached western flank of the reservoir and the extent of the spill in Kolontar.