11 dead, hundreds hospitalised after gas leak at India factory



Eleven people died after a gas leak at a chemical factory in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh while about 20 others are in critical care, disaster response officials said Thursday.

At least 800 people were said to have been taken to hospitals in Vishakhapatnam but most were released after receiving basic care, an official said.

The leak took place at the premises of LG Polymers and spread over the outskirts of the southern city of Vishakhapatnam in the early hours of Thursday, Andhra Pradesh police chief Gautam Sarang said.

The factory was undergoing maintenance as it prepared to open after a more than 40-day lockdown due to the new coronavirus.

It is run by the South Korean firm and produced polystyrene and plastics. Initial investigations showed the gas leaked from a silo containing the chemical compound called styrene, Sarang said.

Nearby residents complained of eye and throat irritation followed by breathing difficulties. Some of them collapsed while others lost consciousness.

“Rescue workers found people lying unconscious in ditches and roadsides. They collapsed while trying to leave the area. One of those who died fell into a well,” Sarang said.

Television footage showed unconscious women lying on the street and animals foaming at the mouth.

“At least 800 people were taken to hospitals in Vishakhapatnam and most were released after receiving basic care, officials said. Around 350 remained in hospital.

“Eleven people had died so far,” National Disaster Response Force Director General SN Pradhan said at a briefing in New Delhi.

A team trained to handle chemical disasters was at the site, Pradhan said, adding: “The situation is under control.”

More than 3,000 people living in two villages near the factory have been evacuated.

“Rescue teams went from door to door and sometimes broke them open to take out the residents as these were locked when they went to sleep,” Sarang said.

A 3-kilometre radius around the factory was affected and local authorities put out messages on social networking sites and public address systems asking people to leave the area and cover their faces with wet masks or cloth.

Investigations would look at whether there were any shortcomings in following protocols while reopening after the lockdown, Andhra Pradesh industries minister MG Reddy told India Today news channel.

“We will take stringent action against anyone found at fault,” he said.

Special forensic teams were at the site along with LG officials, Sarang said.


Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

Edo Election: NSCDC deploys 13, 311 personnel for security operations Edo election: Carry people with disabilities along — CCD Military air raids hit bandits’ hideout, kill scores in Kaduna forest NSE All-Share Index rebounds 0.16% Malnutrition: Agency harps on prevention to fight scourge Police investigate alleged murder of 18-month-old baby in Plateau Lagos bye election :I’ll honour my predecessors’ legacies, says Abiru Ings not interested in leaving Saints, Southampton manager says FG, LASG inaugurates Eko MSME Fashion Hub-1 Niger SUBEB inaugurates 13-member appeal panel to implement staff audit report NITDA, Nigerian Army to collaborate on simulation centre development Ogun workers call off warning strike FAAC: FG, states, LGs share N682 bn for August  Flood: Kebbi governor lauds President Buhari for ministerial delegations FCE Kontagora appeals to TETFund for more interventions Hotels in Benin booked up ahead of Edo Governorship election UN urges Belarus to grant entry to UN rights expert Court remands pastor in Correctional Centre over alleged N.7m fraud  Military‘ll hunt Darul Salam terrorists group into extinction soon- DHQ Kabba monarch urges traditional institutions, others, to partner to combat rape Edo 2020: Group tells electorate to reject inducement Father, 60, remanded for allegedly raping daughter, 22 Rep commends Buhari over assent to 2020 Police Act 1.7m to vote in Edo as voters abandon 483,000 cards in INEC office — Record SDGs: Nigeria to mobilise NYSC members, ICONIC Leaders to champion implementation at grassroots — Buhari Gov. Sule approves recruitment of 246 medical personnel YouTube to host virtual music hangouts with top Nigerian stars FG empowers 720 women, youths in Auchi NEMA urges Osun Govt. to take proactive measures against flood Anambra police command probes alleged murder of mother, 2 kids WTO leadership race: Okonjo-Iweala, 4 others advance to second round of election Sustain Ihedioha’s blueprint on sports development, administrator urges Imo governor United States Embassy in Afghanistan warns of extremists’ Attacks on women Kaduna Govt. challenges teachers to write books, be innovative ICPC intensifies anti-corruption campaigns in Sokoto, others   Floods: NEMA reactivates Humanitarian Coordination Forum in Kogi, urges residents to brace up for flooding NGO calls for increased awareness to address VVF prevalence in Nigeria COVID-19: Plateau research team develops herbal cure Plateau Govt. spends N366m to combat COVID-19 Waste managers call for increased budgetary allocation to environmental sector NGO attributes social vices to broken homes 2020 Maltina School Games: Lagos Govt. rewards 37 students Coronavirus: Biden says Trump trusted less than Russia’s Putin, China’s Xi Up to 1,000 fans  to watch Italian Open Sweden’s statements on Navalny potentially breaching chemical weapons convention – Lavrov Visa Ban: Kogi government writes United States LCCI begins virtual edition of ICTEL Expo EU executive signs contract for up to 300m Covid-19 vaccine doses Optimal breastfeeding, complementary feeding will prevent malnutrition in children – UNICEF NDA to graduate 779 cadets Oct. 10