At least five people died and 100 others were hospitalized in the northern Indian state of Punjab after a tanker carrying ammonia gas got stuck under a bridge and sprung a leak. Authorities have reportedly launched an investigation into the incident, which took place in the city of Ludhiana early Saturday.
“A tanker got stuck under a bridge owing to its low height. Its valve got damaged, resulting in the leak,” a senior local police official told Indo Asian News Service, an Indian news agency.
Several residents of the area complained of breathing problems after inhaling the gas and were forced to vacate their houses, according to local media reports. The identities of the victims are yet to be revealed.
At Doraha, Ludhiana, plants & animals have died due to ammonia gas leak last night. NDRF team at evacuated village pic.twitter.com/oRjoXPUtTT
— ANI (@ANI_news) June 13, 2015
“The administration reached immediately and the affected people were sent to various hospitals. Around 100-110 people have been affected and as per latest update, five people have died,” police official Ajay Sood reportedly said.
Inhalation of ammonia gas, which is usually shipped as compressed liquid, can cause severe irritation of the nose and throat, and lead to a fatal buildup of fluid in the lungs. Symptoms can develop even hours after exposure.