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At least 30 sickened in ammonia leak in Inner Mongolia factory

AT least 30 people have been sickened in a liquid ammonia leak this morning in a pharmaceutical factory in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Xinhua news agency reported.

No deaths have been reported so far.

All workers trapped in the factory have been rescued and other people have been evacuated from nearby plants and residential communities within 2 km of the factory.

The leak occurred around 9am near the factory gate of Chifeng Pharmaceutical Co Ltd in Chifeng City's Hongshan District. The pipes burst when a truck carrying an auto plate of Liaoning Province was supplying the chemical to the factory, Xinhua quoted Wang Suoyou, chief of Chifeng police's firefighting squad, as saying.

The truck was carrying 65 tons of liquid ammonia.

Mal operation of the workers and the out-of-date condition of the truck may have caused the leak, initial investigation showed.

According to earlier reports by China National Radio, eight fire engines and one ambulance had rushed to the scene.

Measures have been taken to dilute the ammonia and the chemical's smell in the air began to disperse one hour later.

Ten injured people are being treated at Chifeng Hospital.

Ammonia, normally a gas with a characteristic pungent odor of rotten eggs, can cause erosion to skin and human tissue.


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