At least 10 people were killed and hundreds were reported sick after gas leaked from the LG Polymer plant at Gopalapatnam on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam. According to the Indian Express, the workers readying themselves for the reopening of the plant today when gas started leaking in the early hours.
Reports state that hundreds of unconscious people and multitudes with breathing difficulties were brought to the King George Hospital in the city, among whom kids and old people were most affected.
An official at KGH informed reporters that the death toll was likely to go up.
Speaking to ANI, Andhra Pradesh DGP, DG Sawang said:
The leak occurred at around 3:30 am today morning. The evacuation operation is still underway. The plant was shut due to the countrywide lockdown.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Industries Minister MG Reddy has said:
After gas leakage was reported in the factory, the lockdown procedure was initiated immediately. Local admin was informed. Gas was neutralized to harmless liquid form. But, little gas escaped factory premises & affected people in nearby areas...The company managing this has to be responsible for the Vizag gas leak mishap. They'll have to come & explain to us exactly what all protocols were followed, and what all were not followed. Accordingly, criminal action will be taken against them.
DVSS Ramana, one of the affected residents, who has two children aged 8 and 12 spoke about the ordeal in details.
We woke up to the smell of gas. When we went outside, the whole air was filled with gas. It entered our homes and caused breathing problems and burning sensation in the lungs...
Meanwhile, emergency services personnel who had been evacuating people also succumbed to consciousness due to the leak. A doctor at KGH said that children below the age of 10 years were the most seriously affected.
According to reports, the LG Polymers was established in 1961 as Hindustan Polymers for manufacturing polystyrene and its co-polymers in Vizag before merging with McDowell & Co of the UB Group in 1978 and taken over by LG Chem in 1997 which renamed it as LG Polymers.