Toxic gas leakage kills 3; 15 injured

Updated: 2008-06-07 08:51

QIQIHAR, Heilongjiang Province -- Poisonous gas leakage caused 18 casualties in Qiqihar City, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, on Thursday, local authorities said late Friday.

Toxic gas leaked out when two workers were cutting two wasted iron bottles at Guangyu junkyard in Qiqihar at 10 a.m. Friday, leaving three dead and 15 injured, an official of the local government said.

One seriously poisoned is currently receiving emergency medical treatment, while 14 others are under observation in hospital, a doctor said.

Local police arrived at the scene 45 minutes later. The toxic gas was confirmed to be phosgene, a colorless volatile gas, used as a poison gas and in making glass, dyes, resins, and plastics.

Phosgene is a highly poisonous gas usually used in industrial and military areas, local police said.

The two bottles were found by a local peasant when digging in his own fields. The peasant sold the bottles as wasted iron to a junk dealer named Yang Jun, who then sold them to the Gaungyu junkyard, the police said.

Further investigation for the age and source of the bottles is underway, the police said.

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