Five dead in gas leak in Pakistan port

Seventy others in hospital as panic spreads on the docks in Karachi

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A poisonous gas leak killed five people and left more than 70 needing hospital treatment in Pakistan late on Sunday evening.

The incident occurred at Kemari port in the southern city of Karachi.

Sharjeel Kharal, the deputy inspector general of police for South Karachi, said gas leaked when workers were unloading a chemical-filled container from a ship docked at the port.

Rumours spread that some poisonous gas had leaked from a ship that had arrived from China at the seaport, but the Karachi Port Trust told local media that no such ship had arrived at the port.

Faisal Edhi, the chief of a private rescue service, told local media rescue workers wearing gas masks rushed to the site and took the bodies to three nearby hospitals.

Local media reported that a number of people being treated in hospital were in a serious condition. Many of the people presenting symptoms of  breathing problems and fainting.

Hundreds of people were said to have run away from the affected area, while hundreds of police cordoned off the area and searched for any other affected people.

Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi said the cause of the incident was not yet known.

He said a high-level team has been formed to investigate the matter.

A spokesperson for the KPT said there was no smell of gas at the port.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader and Federal Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi expressed sorrow over the deaths on Twitter.