Gas leak in India kills nine, hundreds hospitalised

A rescue official helps a victim drink water following a gas leak at the LG Polymers Plant Building in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India, May 7, 2020, in this still image taken from video. ANI/via REUTERS

A chemical gas leak at an LG Polymers plant in southern India on Thursday killed at least 9 people, and emergency services rushed more than 300 to hospital and evacuated hundreds more from nearby areas, a police official in Andhra Pradesh state said.

South Korean battery maker LG Chemical Ltd, the owner of the facility, located around 14 kilometers away from Visakhapatnam city, said the gas leak had been brought under control.

“We are looking into the exact damages, cause of the death and details of the incident,” the company said in a statement. 

The commissioner of the Visakhapatnam city corporation said styrene leaked from the plant during the early hours of the morning, when families in the surrounding villages were asleep.

Srijana Gummalla, Commissioner, Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation, told Reuters that the plant had been reopened in the past few days after India relaxed a nationwide lockdown, that had been imposed on March 25 to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

Areas within an approximately 3-kilometer (nearly 2-mile)radius of the plant were vulnerable, the municipal corporation said in a tweet. Cross-referencing maps of the affected area, there is at least one coronavirus containment zone in the neighbourhood.

The gas leakage has been stopped and the quantities should now be more manageable and we should be able to evacuate people to safety.