Gas inhalation kills five men in Ras Al Khaimah

Five men died of gas inhalation in a labour camp in Ras Al Khaimah.

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Five men died of carbon monoxide poisoning at their Ras al Khaimah labour camp early Friday morning, officials said yesterday.

A statement released by the Ras al Khaimah advocate general, Abdel Nasser Al Shihi, said the incident occurred at 4am Friday. "Preliminary investigations show that the cause of death was carbon monoxide inhalation," Mr Al Shihi said.

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Their bodies will soon be repatriated to their families, a Pakistani consular official said.

The Pakistani cultural attache, Dr Riaz Hussan, said the five men worked for Al Madar Contracting.

"This is a very tragic accident, as all the five men, who were labourers, died in such a way," he said yesterday. "Today I am completing the no-objection certificates to send their bodies back to Pakistan and tomorrow I am heading to the prosecutor's office to get the full details."

The RAK advocate general said initial investigations showed the incident began in building Number Two as the men slept. He said the compound was over-occupied.

"The compound had three buildings and every apartment had five labourers squeezed in," Dr Hussain said. "The men died in their sleep from the poisonous gases and a sixth victim only suffered light injuries."

RAK prosecutors ordered an accelerated forensic investigation, the results of which should be presented along with the Civil Defence report as soon as possible, Mr Al Shihi said.

"We are still currently investigating and we have ruled out any criminal intent," he said.

SA Saleem, the president of the Indian Association Ras al Khaimah, who visited the scene and spoke to company officials, said it is believed an old air conditioner is to blame. "The compressor apparently burst and the gas leaked out when the workers in the room were asleep," he said.

Al Madar Contracting officials were not available for comment.

* With additional reporting by Preeti Kannan