13 people were killed and over 1000 fell sick or unconscious after a gas leak at a plastic manufacturing unit, LG Polymers, in Andhra Pradesh’s Gopalapatnam in Visakhapatnam on Thursday. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs one crore each to the kin of those killed in the styrene gas leak.
Initial reports suggested that styrene gas leaked at around 2:30am and the reason for the leak is yet to be ascertained. Media reports said the unit was shut for over a month due to the coronavirus lockdown and the leak happened from the two 5,000 tonne tanks, which had been unattended due to lockdown. It is believed that this led to chemical reaction and production of heat inside the tanks, which could have caused the leakage, officials suspect.
The death toll is expected to go up further as several people had inhaled the gas and were having breathing trouble. Visuals of people lying unconscious were also doing the round. Officials tried to mitigate the situation by spraying water on the people and asking them to wear masks.
Several households in five villages have been evacuated. In all nine villages will be evacuated. Reports said since the government hospitals are full of corona patients it has directed officials to admit people in private hospitals.