At least ten people were killed and thousands fell ill in a gas leak incident that took place Thursday at the LG Polymer plant in India.
The factory is located at Gopalapatnam, on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India
The styrene gas reportedly started leaking around 2:30 am (Indian time) when the workers were preparing to reopen the plant, Indian Express reported.
All the unconscious people and those with breathing difficulties have been admitted to the King George Hospital in the city.
An official at KGH said that the death toll is likely to increase.
The doctor said that children below the age of 10 years were the most seriously affected.
Thursday’s incident evoked memories of Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984 when a gas leak at a factory of US chemical firm Union Carbide killed thousands.
The LG Polymers was established in 1961 as Hindustan Polymers for manufacturing polystyrene and its co-polymers in Vizag.
It was merged with McDowell &Co of the UB Group in 1978 and was taken over by South Korea-based LG Chem in 1997 which renamed it as LG Polymers.
The factory manufactures general-purpose polystyrene and high impact polystyrene, expandable polystyrene, and engineering plastics compounds.
An official of LG Polymers said the styrene gas possibly leaked due to stagnation and changes in temperature .
This could have resulted in auto polymerization which could have caused vapourisation.
“We are investigating the incident. Right now there is no leak as it has been contained. We will observe the facility for another four hours and give an all clear after a thorough inspection,” he said.
Visakhapatnam Police Commissioner Rajiv Kumar Meena told The Indian Express that four persons died after breathing the gas while two persons died in accidents while escaping.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has directed the district officials to take every possible step to save lives and bring the situation under control.
On his part, Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured Jagan of all help and support.