At least 11 people including women and children were killed in Punjab’s Ludhiana on Sunday after toxic gas leak in a factory, according to officials.
According to media reports, 10 out of 11 of the infected belonged to migrant families from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar state of India, who were living in Punjab from past two decades. The toxic gas leak incident took place at a factory on Sua Road near Sherpur Chowk Ludhiana on early Sunday morning around 7:15am.
At least four people were taken to hospital, informed officials. Though the source of the leak has not been officially confirmed, but preliminary reports indicated deaths due to neurotoxicity.
Hindustan Times reported, citing Dr Hatinder Kaur, a civil surgeon in Ludhiana, “The nature of gas was neuro-toxic. As per the medical examination till now the deaths were not caused by suffocation but by the gas’s harmful effect on the nervous system of the victims.”
Neuro-toxicity occurs when the exposure to natural or manmade toxic substances (neurotoxicants) alters the normal activity of the nervous system that includes brain, spinal cord, and nerves.
Authorities have conducted relief operations as NDRF and fire brigade team cordoned off the area. The Ludhiana Police Commissioner Mandeep Singh Sidhu said they apprehended someone infected with some chemicals in the sewerage which led to the emission of the toxic gas.
“A cat was also found dead at the incident site,” said Sidhu.
According to an official statement from the district administration, reported by The Tribune newspaper, “high levels of hydrogen sulphide gas were detected in the area”.
Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Surabhi Malik told that the police is going to “collect samples from manholes. It is quite likely that some chemical reacted with methane in manholes.”
Several people were found unconscious in their homes and many reported breathing issues. As narrated by an eyewitness, The Times of India reported that people found dead bodies near a milk booth in the area early in the morning when shopkeepers were out to purchase milk.
According to the eyewitness, people fell down on the road and turned blue and people who went to help them also fell there.03:11 PM