About 60 people, mostly students, were taken ill after suspected chlorine gas leaked from a scrapyard in the Mumbai Port Trust (MPT) premises close to a college early on Wednesday. The condition of seven people is critical, officials said, adding that 500 people were evacuated from the area.
"Seven are in a critical state, while the others have minor complaints of health problems. There are no fatal casualties so far," Dean of Sir JJ Hospital TP Lahane said.
According to an official of the fire brigade, the gas leak was noticed around 4 am when the victims started complaining of burning eyes, breathlessness and nausea.
The source of the leakage was traced to a scrapyard in the MBT premises, adjacent to the LBS College in Sewri, south-central Mumbai.
The official said in a preliminary measure to deal with the emergency, water was sprayed on the gas cylinders stored in a container in the scrapyard while experts were summoned to deal with the situation.
As a precautionary measure, police ordered the evacuation of nearly 500 people staying in the vicinity.
The condition of all the victims admitted to the Sir JJ Hospital is reported to be stable and 14 were discharged after treatment.
Officials of the MPT have said that the gas leak occurred from some old gas cylinders, seized by customs authorities and in the process of being disposed of.
The officials were engaged in procuring caustic soda to neutralise the effects of the gas.
The state administration was monitoring the situation arising out of the gas leak, especially as it happened in the high-security port zone in south Mumbai.