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August 6, 2009

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200 fall sick from ammonia gas leak

MORE than 200 people fell ill yesterday after an ammonia gas leak at a pharmaceutical plant in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the local government has revealed.

The government of Hongshan District, Chifeng City, said 21 people were hospitalized while 181 others remain under observation. No one died in the leak.

A pipe on a truck carrying 30 tons of liquid ammonia burst while unloading at the Chifeng Pharmaceutical Group factory at 8:40am but was contained after about 50 minutes, the government said.

The 202 people included factory workers, emergency crew and nearby residents. People within 2 kilometers downwind were evacuated.

Local public security, environment protection and work safety authorities have set up a team to investigate the accident. Authorities were also testing the city's water supplies for ammonia contamination.

An initial investigation suggested worker error and old pipes.


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