Over 50 workers were taken ill after they were exposed to gas which leaked from a factory of Star Agro Marine Exports Ltd at Davispeta in Indukuripeta mandal in Nellore district on Wednesday at 10 a.m.
Several of them fell unconscious and were immediately rushed to various hospitals in Nellore. The authorities said that there was no danger to the life of the injured. Those who stood nearer to the leakage were badly affected.
Unconfirmed reports said that the total number of affected persons could be 150 with most of them having escaped with minimal exposure to the gas. The affected persons were admitted to the DSR Government District Hospital, Ramachandra Reddy Hospital and Narayana Hospital in Nellore.
The mishap took place when the ammonia gas, a cooling agent, spread in the plant following a leakage either in the supply pipes or cylinders used in the plant. A major tragedy was averted as the authorities made immediate arrangements for shifting the injured persons to hospitals by 108 ambulances and also by other modes of transport.
District Collector N. Srikanth, Superintendent of Police P.V.S. Ramakrishna, Joint Collector B. Laksmikantham and other officials visited the accident spot and made enquiries for the cause of the mishap. “There have been no casualties so far. But all medical help is being provided to make sure there will be no complications,” said Mr. Ramakrishna. The gas was usually used in the refrigeration process and those, who got more exposed to the leak, were badly suffocated, he added.
At the DSR General Hospital, the family members were seen in an agitated condition over the incidence of the mishap.