A chemical gas leak at the LG Polymers plant in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam district in the early hours of Thursday has killed at least nine people.
Over 800 others were hospitalised as authorities evacuated the area around the plant and worked to bring the leak under control.
Here’s a timeline of events:
2.30 am — A primary report on the leak said the styrene leaked from the LG Polymers plant around 2.30, Commissioner of the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation said on Thursday morning.
3.30 am ― Andhra Pradesh DGP Gautam Sawang said that “the incident got reported in the early hours of Thursday when the police control room got a call through 100.” A resident of the affected Venkatapuram village called and alerted the police about a possible gas leak.
3.45 am ― The police team and fire safety department officials were alerted and deployed at Venkatapuram village which is the closest residential area to the plant. A total of 1,500 people reside in this village.
ACP West Swaroopa Rani told Huffpost India that 500 police personnel are currently deployed here.
7.28 am — The GVMC tweeted an advisory asking people in the Gopalapatnam, the area near the village, not to come out of their houses as a safety precaution.
8.08 am — The GVMC asked people in “colonies and villages around the industry” to leave for the safer locations while using wet cloth as a mask to cover the nose and mouth.
Between 4 and 8 am: 108 ambulances were deployed and DGP Sawang said two police battalions were deployed from the police headquarters.
The LG Polymer company authorities were alerted during this time. They took the first measure of sprinkling water to contain the gas in and around the chemical plant.
9.37 am — The Director General of NDRF, SN Pradhan, told NDTV: “As of now, the gas leakage has stopped but a lot of people have been hospitalised and are in a semi-unconscious state. Many of them are facing breathing problems, skin irritation.”
10 am — By this time, all residents in the Venkatapuram village were evacuated, police said. Water had been sprayed in the village as well.
12.23 pm — Andhra Pradesh DGP Damodar Goutam Sawang told ANI that the gas had been neutralised. “One of the antidote is drinking a lot of water. Around 800 were shifted to hospital, many have been discharged. Investigation will be carried out to see how this happened.”
According to Visakhapatnam Collector Vinay Chand, the gas leakage occurred after a fire broke out at the plant where workers were preparing to restart it.
Commissioner Srijana Gummalla told Reuters that the plant had been reopened in the past few days after India relaxed lockdown rules in certain areas.
Authorities said 800 people had been hospitalised initially. A total of 246 people are currently admitted in private and public hospitals.
ACP West Vizag said at least 70 people were in critical condition while the DGP said 20 people were on ventilators.