At least seven people were killed and hundreds hospitalised after a pre-dawn gas leak at a chemical plant in eastern India on Thursday that left unconscious victims lying in the streets, authorities said.
The gas escaped out of tanks at a complex owned by South Korea’s LG Chem that had suspended operations because of India’s coronavirus lockdown.
Footage on Indian television channels showed people, including women and children, slumped motionless in the streets of Visakhapatnam, an industrial port city in Andhra Pradesh state.
B K Naik, district hospitals coordinator, said that seven people had been confirmed killed and 1,000 had initially been hospitalised.
“This is a calamity,” Naik told AFP.
However throughout the day hundreds of people were released and Naik said on Thursday afternoon about 600 remained in hospital, none of whom were in a critical condition.
Pictures taken by AFP at the King George Hospital in the city early in the day had shown two or three patients on each bed, many of them children, and many unconscious.
Some of the patients were lying on the beds in the sparse hospital wearing just shorts and without tops or shoes.
– Prayers –
“I pray for everyone’s safety and well-being in Visakhapatnam,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter.At least 1,000 people have been hospitalised following the gas leak
The plant, operated by LG Polymers, a subsidiary of LG Chem, is on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam.
The city and the surrounding area are home to around five million people.
LG Chem released a statement in South Korea late on Thursday morning indicating gas had stopped leaking.
“The gas leak situation is now under control and we are exploring all ways to provide speedy treatment for those who suffer from inhaling the leaked gas,” the statement said.