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Gas leak kills 3 in Beijing
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-04-22 00:56

Three people died and more than 300 were affected in two separate instances of leaking poisonous gases on Tuesday night.

The death of three people was caused by hydrogen cyanide gas leaked from liquid waste at a gold smelter in Beijing's suburban district of Huairou.

Ambulances ready.

The accident also poisoned 15 others, all of whom were hospitalized in time.

One of them was put on a respirator, Xinhua quoted Sun Wenli, deputy president of the Huairou No 1 Hospital, as saying.

At about 7 pm on Tuesday hydrogen cyanide gas leaked from the gold smelter at the Beijing Zhongfa Gold Co Ltd.

More than 200 people within two kilometers of the site were evacuated.

Measures were taken to clear up the pollutant and prevent any dangers, such as explosions.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Another leakage occurred in Nanchang, capital of East China's Jiangxi Province.

Some 300 victims of the chlorine gas leakage in Nanchang are safe in hospital now, and no death has been reported yet, said a spokeswoman of the local government.

By late Wednesday, a total of 282 people were under medical observation in hospital, of whom six had more serious symptoms, but were not in life-threatening danger, said Zhang Li, director of the information office of the city government.

The accident took place at about 9:30 pm at a chemical plant in the capital city of Jiangxi Province when a liquid chlorine tank leaked.

Nearby residents and employees of a shopping building rushed for safety after smelling the poisonous gas.

But still 22 people fainted at the site, said a report by local media.

Inhalating 2.5 milligrams of chlorine gas is enough to cause death and symptoms of inhalation include bronchial spasms, dropsy

and respiratory difficulty.

Hundreds of people showed symptoms, and were sent to hospital when police and medical staff arrived.

Emergency measures were taken immediately and by 11:50 pm the leak was completely stopped and under control.

The leaking tank, containing about 25 kilograms of liquefied chlorine, is a remnant of an oil chemical plant in the residential area of the city, which stopped production years ago.

It is still not known what caused the leak and an investigation is ongoing.

Plant officials believe it may have been caused by thieves who frequent this area for iron objects, said local media.

High temperatures of 33 D on that day could also have been a cause, a local government official suggested.

Soon after the accident, the local government ordered an inspection of other factories and institutions throughout the city that may also pose a danger.

In another development, experts from Beijing and Shanghai Wednesday started to investigate the April 16 chlorine leakage disaster that left nine dead or missing and 30,000 evacuated in Southwest China's Chongqing.

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