‘This was not the first but this was the worst’ ⁠— says a Vizag gas leak survivor

‘This was not the first but this was the worst’ ⁠— says a Vizag gas leak survivor
Children affected by the gas leak admitted in a hospital.BCCL
  • The Vizag gas leak has left 10 people dead and more than 300 hospitalised.
  • People ran to save their lives after realizing that they couldn’t breathe even inside their homes.
  • Instead of waiting for official evacuation, people packed up whatever they could and tried to run as far as possible from the LG Polymers chemical plant.
  • The following account is from a person living right next to the LG Polymers chemical plant.
“We woke up to the gas smell from the plant,” recalls a Visakhapatnam gas leak survivor Balasouri K, who lives in a colony located right next to the LG Polymers chemical plant.

“Living near the plant for many years, we can identify that it is coming from the plant. It happened earlier on a couple of occasions, but it was minor before. This time, it’s a major one,” Balasouri said.

“My father phoned me to use masks and told me there was a gas leak. He usually wakes up early in the morning and goes for a walk, but by then, people had already packed up and come onto the roads to go far away from the plant,” he added, describing the chaos on Visakhapatnam’s roads early in the morning.

‘People themselves decided to leave’

Balasouri, a 33-year-old IT sector employee also described how people actively evacuated from the areas surrounding the plant, instead of waiting for the authorities.


“It was not an official evacuation, people themselves decided to go far. You’re not able to breathe and you can’t stay there for any longer. You have to go, that’s all, there is no other option,” he said, describing how people sprang into action.

‘I couldn’t breathe when I woke up’

Although the gas leak reportedly started around 2:30 am, Balasouri felt its effects around 4:30 am. He said he couldn’t breathe when he woke up.

“You have to breathe that gas, there is no other option, that’s all”, he said.

‘We packed up at 4:30 am and went away’

Instead of waiting for an official announcement, Balasouri packed up and rushed out of the area.

At this point, Balasouri decided to pick up his wife and kids who were staying at his cousin’s place which is 2KM away from the LG Polymers plant. But soon, they realised that they are not safe even here.

From there, they packed in two cars and headed to the temple town of Simhachalam, which is 6KM away from the plant. However, he says they sensed the gas even here.

“There were almost 200 families on the road – there were cars, bikes and people were sitting on the footpath. It was now that we realized we had to go far and we decided to go near the beach,” he said, explaining that the Styrene gas leak from the LG plant had reached as far as Simhachalam.

‘Scores of people were lying down on footpaths’

While evacuating from his home near the plant, Balasouri says he spotted scores of people lying down on footpaths, with some of them unable to breathe while others were already unconscious.

Further, he also said that the videos circulating on WhatsApp and social media were not fake – he said he had seen those people falling with his own eyes.

‘Coronavirus has become a second priority right now’

“Coronavirus has become a second priority right now because you can’t live without breathing. When there’s a gas leak, you have to run, that’s all,” Balasouri explained the helplessness of Visakhapatnam residents who were running for their lives.

Eight people dead so far, more than 300 hospitalised

The gas leak at the LG Polymers chemical plant in Visakhapatnam has left 8 people dead and over 300 people have been hospitalised. Several people have reportedly complained of symptoms.

See also:

All you need to know about LG Polymers – the company behind the deadly gas leak in Visakhapatnam

FIR registered against LG Chemicals as Visakhapatnam gas leak pushes hundreds into hospitals with 8 dead and 20 in critical condition