The Defence Ministry on Tuesday informed that the India Air Force airlifted 8.3 tonnes of chemicals from Gujarat that could reduce the toxicity of the gas leaked from a storage tank at the LG Polymers plant in Vizag last week. The IAF also facilitated the movement of the two individuals -- Director of Indian Institute of Petroleum from Delhi and a Styrene specialist from Mumbai -- to Vizag as they were required to oversee the operations being undertaken to control the gas leak.
"Based on the request from the Industries and Commerce department of the Andhra Pradesh government, the IAF airlifted 8.3 T of essential chemicals required to effectively control the gas leak that occurred at Styrene Monomer Storage tank in LG Polymers at Vizag, Andhra Pradesh," the ministry added.
"Two An-32 transport aircraft of IAF were deployed to airlift approximately 1.1 tonnes of Tertiary Butylcatechol and 7.2 tonnes of Polymerization Inhibitors and Green Retarders from Mundra, Gujarat to Vizag in Andhra Pradesh," the ministry said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Vizag District Collector V Vinay Chand said that about 13,000 tonnes of Styrene from the LG Polymers plant is being sent back through a ship to the company's headquarters in Seoul, South Korea.
Gas leaked from LG Polymers chemical plant in RR Venkatapuram village in Visakhapatnam in the early hours of Thursday and quickly spread to villages in a five-kilometre radius, killing at least 11 people and impacting about 1,000, many collapsing to the ground as they tried to escape the toxic vapours. Around 2,000 mt tonnes of chemical gas Styrene was leaked, according to sources. Among the dead were two children, aged six and nine, a first-year medical student and two people who fell into a well while fleeing the vapours from the plant, getting ready to reopen after the lockdown. Around 3,000 people were evacuated by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams from Imhachalam, Gopalapatnam, Vepagunta. A total of 1000 people who have come in direct contact with the gas are being treated in hospitals currently.