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Battle to prevent fresh gas leak at Indian plant


Engineers battled Friday to prevent more toxic gas escaping from a chemical plant on India’s east coast, a day after a pre-dawn leak killed 12 people and knocked locals unconscious in the street.

Although the death toll was lower than feared, the accident which left hundreds hospitalized outside the industrial port city of Visakhapatnam evoked memories of Bhopal where a gas leak killed around 3,500 people in 1984.

Late on Thursday the evacuation zone around the plant — owned by South Korea’s LG Chem — was widened with hundreds more people in 10 localities taken to safety as a precaution, police said.

“The situation is better now but we can’t say it is completely normal. The temperature in the tanks has been brought down by 120 degrees but we need to bring it down further by 25 degrees,” senior police officer Swaroop Rani told AFP.

South Korean parent company LG Chem said Friday that it was “taking necessary measures, such as adding water” to keep the tanks cool.

The company said in a statement on its website that the gas leak at the factory was in a “controlled state” and it would do its best to prevent future recurrences.

LG Chem added that it was investigating the exact cause of the incident and scope of damage with authorities, and will announce the findings “as we have more concrete information”.

On Friday afternoon a senior official in Visakhapatnam who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that police have also registered a case of manslaughter against the company management, accusing them of endangering public lives through negligence.


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