Toxic gas leak victims in stable condition
Twenty-one victims from Wednesday's chlorine leak remain in hospital, doctors said yesterday.
None is in a critical condition.
"Another 55 affected by the accident which happened in Qujing, Southwest China's Yunnan Province, on Wednesday, have been released," said Peng Zhixin, an official with the government of the city's Qilin District, where the accident happened.
"Doctors say the 21 are in good condition and they can leave the hospital later," Peng said.
The leakage occurred at the Qujing Workers' Palace at around 11 am on Wednesday, when a chlorine bottle was moved and shaken by waste collectors, according to local media report.
The chlorine bottle, which was used to sterilize the palace swimming pool, was sold to the collectors by palace authorities.
According to Peng, a total of 200 people living nearby were evacuated and 76, including 74 students at a nearby school, were sent to hospital due to discomfort caused by the chlorine gas.
One of the evacuated said a wave of "a terrible smell" suddenly came at about 11:20 am on Wednesday. He said his throat hurt and it was difficult for him to breathe.
The bottle was put into water by public security forces who were called to the site so that remaining chlorine could be diluted, he said.
Peng said the chlorine bottle was almost empty and there was actually not much leakage. "Therefore, no serious casualties have been caused," he said.
By Wednesday afternoon, everything at the Workers' Palace had returned to normal, Peng said.
He said authorities are looking into the accident to see who is responsible.
The number of accidents involving hazardous chemicals has been rising in recent years in China.
China Youth Daily reported that in 2000, 514 such accidents occurred, killing 785, while the number climbed to 621 in 2003, claiming 960 lives.
A recent deadly accident happened in East China's Jiangsu Province on March 29, when a tanker truck carrying liquefied chlorine crashed into another truck in Huaian, causing the chlorine to leak.
A total of 28 villagers nearby were killed by the gas, while more than 350 were injured and hospitalized.
(China Daily 04/29/2005 page3)