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70 pupils rushed to hospital after gas leak (Updated)

Updated 12.09am, 20 May 2009

SHAH ALAM, 19 May 2009: Seventy pupils and three teachers of Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil (SJKT) Ladang Emerald in Bukit Kemuning here were rushed to hospital today after they inhaled a leaking gas.

The gas, identified as ethyl mercaptan, had leaked during maintenance work on a gas pipe at the Shah Alam City Station of a petroleum company located about 500 metres from the school, said Selangor Fire & Rescue director Soiman Jahid.

He said the pupils experienced difficulty breathing and 20 of them reportedly fainted after having inhaled the gas, which was used to detect leakage on the gas pipe.

The pupils and the teachers were given treatment at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang and the Shah Alam Community Polyclinic in Section 7 here, he said.

All of them were allowed to return to their homes and their condition was not serious, he added.

Soiman said the fire and rescue squad was summoned at 12.16pm and two Hazmat trucks were rushed to the scene.

“The Hazmat team sealed the leak 15 minutes after arrival and brought the situation under control,” he said.

SJKT Ladang Emerald headmaster K Chetraselvan, who was attending a course in Kuala Lumpur, said he was informed of the incident by a teacher at noon.

He said he rushed to the two hospitals upon getting the news.

Meanwhile in KUALA LUMPUR, Petronas Gas Berhad stressed that there was no leakage of gas at its facility in Shah Alam City Gate today as reported by some media.

A statement issued by Petronas Gas said that a minute quantity of methyl mercaptan, a harmless chemical added to gases to detect leakage, escaped into the air during maintenance work at the facility at about 11.30am today.

The smell of the chemical drifted towards the school, affecting 31 students, teachers and workers at the school who suffered nausea and headache.

Petronas Gas took immediate measure to neutralise the smell of the chemical at the site and the facility is now operating as usual.
— Bernama

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