150,000 evacuated in chlorine leak

BEIJING: Seven people were killed, three injured and 150,000 evacuated after large amounts of toxic chlorine gas spewed from a factory in south-west China's Chongqing municipality yesterday, state media said. 

The highly irritating, greenish-yellow gas began leaking from the Tianyuan Chemical Industry Plant in the densely populated Jiangbei district of downtown Chongqing Thursday evening, residents and the Xinhua news agency said. 

Local authorities moved to evacuate all residents within a one kilometre radius of the factory, rousing many from their slumber. 

But by Friday evening, three of the factory's huge chlorine tanks exploded before emergency crews could control the leak, forcing more people to be evacuated. 

“Since the explosions of chlorine gas, so far 150,000 people have been evacuated,” said Xinhua, which reported seven people were killed and three injured. 

“Initial evaluation shows the explosions were caused by antiquated equipment and improper operation,” Miao Guangkui, director of the rescue team, was quoted by Xinhua saying. – AFP 

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