Thriller Gasoline Leak in Punjab, India, Leaves at Least 11 Useless

At least 11 people were killed and almost as many injured after a gas leaked in the northern Indian state of Punjab on Sunday. Officials had sealed off a section of in the city of Ludhiana and were evacuating residents as they tried to identify the gas and determine the source of the leak.

All the victims were found near three businesses in the Giaspura industrial district — a dairy store, a grocery store and a clinic. Some lived in apartments above the store fronts. The area is home to clothing factories and the people who work there, hundreds of migrant workers from the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

The deaths were mainly caused by suffocation, according to Dr. Hatinder Kaur of the Civil Hospital of Ludhiana, where the victims were taken and the injured were still being treated. Among the dead were two children, local news media reported.

Rajinder Pal Kaur Chhina, a member of the local legislature, reached the scene about 30 minutes after the first reports started to spread around on Sunday morning. She said she saw about half a dozen people lying unconscious on the street near the dairy store.

“All these people had gone to buy milk,” Ms. Chhina said by phone. “We are trying to evacuate people from the neighboring areas.”

The Punjab government has deployed teams of the National Disaster Response Force to assist with the evacuation, according to Surabhi Malik, the deputy commissioner of Ludhiana. The force is also extracting gas samples from sewers in the area in an effort to identify the gas, she said.

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One of the world’s worst industrial disasters occurred in India in 1984, when a gas leak at a Union Carbide pesticide in the central city of Bhopal killed thousands.