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Gas leak: ‘A colleague rushed upstairs to check... he died’

Sep 22 2011, 01:48 IST
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SummaryAs they recuperate in a 14-bed clinic at Boisar, victims of Tuesday’s toxic gas leak accident talk about their experience and recall how close they came to death.

As they recuperate in a 14-bed clinic at Boisar, victims of Tuesday’s toxic gas leak accident talk about their experience and recall how close they came to death.

“I was working on the first floor of the unit when I heard people falling on the staircase from the third floor,” said Sonu Singh (22), an operator at the Sequent Scientific Limited plant in the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) area where the accident occurred. “A colleague rushed upstairs to check. The gas was too strong, he died.”

The leakage of hydrogen sulphide gas that happened at the Sequent Scientific Limited plant on Tuesday night claimed four lives and injured 14 others.

The deceased were identified as Binoo Singh (22), Naresh Varma (22), Suresh Prajapati (24) and Shivakant Tiwari (28). Singh, Tiwari and Prajapati died on the spot while Varma died on his way to the clinic.

“They had suffered from acute exposure to toxic gas and died of asphyxia due to lack of oxygen,” said Dr Parag Kulkarni of Aashirwad clinic where the victims were taken. Their bodies were sent to the Tarapur Public Health Centre for postmortem after which they were taken to their hometowns in Madhya Pradesh. One patient was transferred to Sai Leela Hospital in Boisar due to lack of beds in the clinic.

Of the 14 brought to Aashirwad clinic, some were unconscious while others were breathless. Sonu was one of the workers who helped carry his unconscious colleagues to a nearby vehicle before passing out.

“Some of the workers fell unconscious on the staircase while trying to come down. I dragged them to the company’s autorickshaw, but I too fainted,” said Sonu.

The company has promised to pay Rs 3 lakh as interim ex-gratia to the families of the deceased and to provide all medical assistance to the recuperating victims.

Pipes old, worn out: workers

The gas leakage may have been caused by old, worn out pipes, workers alleged on Wednesday. “A pipe which has been leaking gas for a while has not been fixed despite constant requests to the factory authorities,” said Rajendra Kumar, a worker. Another victim Rajendra Kumar alleged that the engineer responsible for repairs has been indifferent. However, company officials denied any negligence.

Meanwhile, State government officials have complained of a “communication lag” between the time of the gas leak and passing on the information to the disaster management and district officials. According

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