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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
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By Ntwaagae Seleka | Jun 25, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

A MAN died instantly and six others were hospitalised after inhaling toxic gas at an abattoir in Vereeniging yesterday.

Indhram Moodley of the Sedibeng emergency services said the deceased and the survivors had inhaled ammonia, which is highly toxic to human beings.

More than 100 employees had to be evacuated from the building. "We had to clear the scene to avoid more fatalities," Moodley said.

Evacuatedemployees could be seen standing a kilometre away from the abattoir, while paramedics worked inside.

"When dealing with such a gas you need to be cautious. We only allowed them in after we were sure that the area was clean and would not cause any harm to their health. Ammonia is so dangerous that if inhaled, it closes one's lungs and it becomes difficult to breath.

"It takes less than a minute to kill an adult human being who has inhaled it."

Moodley said they had launched an investigation.

After the scene was cleared employees rushed back into the abattoir to fetch their belongings and left for their homes.

Police spokesperson Captain Shado Mashobane said they had opened an inquest docket.


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