As many as 10 people were reported dead and hundreds of others fell sick after styrene gas leaked at LG Polymers chemical plant in the RR Venkatapuram village in Andhra Pradesh's Vishakhapatnam on Thursday, May 7. Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter saying, "I pray for everyone's safety and well-being in Visakhapatnam."
Meanwhile, several reports started doing the rounds about a second leak at the LG Polymers chemical plant in Vishakhapatnam. The official account of the New Indian Xpress, Andhra Pradesh took to Twitter reporting about another leak at the LG Polymers premises.
"#Vizag #gasleak update: Locals say another leak at the #LGPolymers premises a while ago," read the news outlet's tweet.
Andhra Police steps in to clarify
Clarifying on whether a second leak at the LG Polymers chemical plant took place, the Andhra Pradesh Police said that the reports are false. They said that the maintenance team was repairing the system and some vapour was let out.
"Reports of a second leak at #LGPolymers premises are false. Maintenance team was repairing the system and some vapour was let out. There is NO second leak," read the Andhra Pradesh Police's tweet.
How the gas leak happened
When India went into a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, two 5,000 tonne tanks were left unattended since March 24, which led to a polymer reaction, and the heat was produced inside the tanks, which caused the toxic gas leakage.
The tragedy occurred when the chemical plant was reopened after the lockdown curbs were eased a few days back. State Industries Minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy told reporters that it appeared negligence during the re-opening of the LG Polymers chemical plant led to the leakage of deadly styrene gas.
An initial investigation revealed a gas valve malfunction led to the valve bursting and causing the massive gas leak that has left around 10 dead.
Horrific pictures, videos of people dropping unconscious on the streets were shared on social media platforms. The Director-General of NDRF has confirmed that the source of the gas leak in the private plant at Gopalpatnam in Visakhapatnam district has been plugged and the NDRF teams have been able to rescue people out of the affected area.