14 dead in apparent toxic gas leak in Pakistan

Agence France-Presse . Karachi | Published: 22:51, Feb 18,2020


An apparent gas leak killed at least 14 people near the Pakistani port city of Karachi, officials said Tuesday, as investigators worked to determine the source of the deadly emission.

Residents of Keamari, a commercial and residential area, began falling sick Sunday, officials said.

A doctor at one hospital, who asked not to be named, said 250 people had been admitted for treatment, after complaining of breathing difficulties and burning eyes.

Local health ministry spokesman Zafar Mehdi said that 14 people had died at various hospitals.

At the state-run Jinnah Post-graduate Medical Centre, about 35 people arrived for emergency treatment.

‘Most of the patients were suffering from choking and breathlessness,’ Seemin Jamali, who heads the emergency department, said.

Authorities initially suspected some sort of gas could have leaked from the port, but the Karachi Port Trust denied that was the case.

‘All the casualties took place outside the port, and our facility is clean,’ a port spokesman said.

Authorities have sought help from the navy’s chemical and biological department, according to Nasir Shah, provincial information minister.

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