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India: Gas leak in Punjab kills 11, more affected

Update : 30 Apr 2023, 14:58

Eleven people, some of them children, were killed from a gas leak emanating from a factory that also affected nearby residents. Authorities suggest people likely died due to "gas contamination."

At least 11 people, including two children and women were killed as a result of a gas leak coming from a factory in Punjab's Ludhiana district, said authorities.

More were feared to be trapped inside the factory.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was dispatched to the scene on Sunday.

"I am on the ground right now. All our teams, including the disaster relief team and doctors, are here," Surabhi Malik, deputy commissioner of police in Ludhiana, told DW.

"We are still investigating the reason for the leak," she said.

Rescue operations underway
The Chief Minister of Punjab, Bhagwant Mann, said on Twitter that the police, district administration and the NDRF were currently conducting rescue and relief operations.

A video footage from news agency ANI showed police officials and rescue teams wearing masks cordoning off the area.

According to The Hindustan Times, the leak was first noticed at 7:15 a.m. and individuals living within a 300-meter (roughly 330-yard) radius of the leak were suffering from breathing issues.

Ludhiana Police Commissioner Mandeep Singh Sidhu told the Indian Express that authorities also used drones to "check if someone was lying unconscious on terraces or rooftops but no one else was found yet."

Malik also told the Indian Express that the deaths likely happened due to "gas contamination" and that authorities suspected that "some chemical has reacted with methane."

Punjab is a state in northwestern India bordering Pakistan. It's home to roughly 31 million people and to the largest Sikh population in India.

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