Gas leak at Visakhapatnam chemical plant: 6 dead, many unconscious

Hundreds of people have fallen unconscious following a gas leak at a chemical plant, which occurred overnight, in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam. The gas leak at the LG Polymers chemical plant in RR Venkatapuram started around 2 am on Thursday and spread to the neighbouring areas, for upto 4 kms from the plant, according to the police.
Gopalapatnam Sub-Inspector Venkat Rao said that three people have died from the leak so far, and at least 500 people have been moved to hospitals and three villages have been evacuated. Of those admitted in hospitals, 82 have been admitted to KGH hospital.
Reports say that people exposed to the gas are having a burning sensation in the eyes. “People have passed out after inhaling the gas. Even our (police personnel) eyes are still burning and we feel nauseous,” SI Venkat Rao said. Most people are being taken to King George Hospital, while some are being moved to private hospitals if needed, he said. 
The Director General of Police of Andhra Pradesh, Guatam Sawang added that there have been 6 gas-leak related deaths out of which two are children and four are adults. Two of these were accident-related deaths, where one man fell into a well while trying to run away and one person fell from the second floor of the house.
He claimed that the gas itself is not lethal or poisonous, therefore people who have been taken to the hospital will be given treatment and most of them can be discharged.
As per company protocol, LG Polymers had a gas chamber and a neutraliser chamber next to it so they immediately tried to neutralise the gas. He does not expect casualties to rise much further. Investigation has been started into what primarily seems to have been a maintenance issue.
In a tweet, Srijana Gummalla, Commissioner of Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC), said, “Primary report is PVC gas (or Styrene) leaked from LG Polymers, Vepagunta near Gopalapatnam in Visakhapatnam at around 2:30 am today (Thursday). Because of the leakage of the said compound gas, hundreds of people have inhaled it and either fell unconscious or having breathing issues.”

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