Hyderabad: At least 10 people, including an eight-year-old girl, died when chemical gas leaked from an industrial plant in Visakhapatnam city, in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
Many people fainted due to the gas leak and rescue teams were trying to vacate the people from the area.
“Styrene chemical leaked from the plant of LG Polymers company,” District Collector Vinay Chand said. Some people fainted on the streets near the plant. The accident occurred at around 3 am.
An area covering a radius of 3km in Gopalapatnam was affected and about 250 people fell sick.
Authorities have deployed 25 ambulances to move the affected people to hospital. Police were vacating the residents from areas close to the accident site.
Srijana Gummal, Commissioner, Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation, said water was being sprayed through blowers to minimise the effect of the gas. “Through the public address system people were asked to use wet masks.”
Poilice commissioner Rajeev Kumar Meena said teams of National Disaster Relief Force had arrived on the scene and started a rescue and relief operation. “Police teams are conducting door to door search in the affected areas to bring out the trapped people,” he said. At least five villages around the plant were affected. “The core impact area is 1.5km and the smell was felt in a radius of 2.5km,” he said.
An eyewitness said: “There was total panic as mist like gas enveloped the area. People felt breathless in their homes and tried to run away. Darkness added to the confusion.”
The tragedy occurred on a day when the plant was preparing to reopen after the 40 day lockdown due to coronavirus.
Earlier police official Swaroop Rani said in Visakhapatnam: “We can confirm at least five deaths right now. More will be confirmed later. At least 70 people in the nearby hospitals are in an unconscious state and overall 200 to 500 locals are still getting treatment (at the hospitals).”