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Thousands Flee Deadly Chemical Plant Leak

8 dead, 1K sickened near India factory
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 7, 2020 3:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – A chemical gas leaked from an industrial plant in southern India early Thursday, leaving people struggling to breathe and collapsing in the streets as they tried to flee. At least eight people were killed and nearly 1,000 suffered breathing difficulties and other reactions, the AP reports. The synthetic chemical styrene leaked from the LG Polymers plant in a city on India's Bay of Bengal coast while workers were preparing to restart the plant after the coronavirus lockdown was eased, Administrator Vinay Chand said. A fire that broke out before the gas leak has been extinguished, and police said the gas leak was later stopped and the air had cleared.

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The dead included an 8-year-old girl. Police say one person died falling into a well while running away and another person died after he jumped from the second story of his house to escape. South Korean company LG Chem operates the plant in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh state. The company says it is cooperating with Indian authorities to help residents and employees. Nearly 1,000 people in an area of 1.8 miles complained of breathing difficulties and burning sensation in their eyes, Chand said. Nearly 3,000 people were evacuated from a village near the plant. Images from television showed people lying in the streets after they collapsed while trying to flee.

(Read more India stories.)

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