Exams saved the students | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Exams saved the students

Platini Fernandes (23) woke up at 3 am to find his hostel room enveloped in white smoke. The second officer with the merchant navy couldn’t breathe and his eyes were watering.

mumbai Updated: Jul 15, 2010 02:12 IST
Kiran Wadhwa

Platini Fernandes (23) woke up at 3 am to find his hostel room enveloped in white smoke. The second officer with the merchant navy couldn’t breathe and his eyes were watering.

Across the floors of the three hostels of the LBS College of Advanced Maritime Studies & Research in Sewri, students stumbled out of their rooms choking. The college, home to 700 cadets, officers and engineers, is barely 100 metres from the site of the leak.

Fortunately, many students were awake studying for exams. "Suddenly, we felt suffocated. When I opened the door I saw a blanket of smoke in the yard below where the cylinders are kept,"said Rajat Saxena, a second officer who stays on the eighth floor of the new hostel, closest to the site.

The residents alerted the warden, who went from room to room asking people to evacuate. On the ground, car horns were blared and sirens blown to gather all students.

"By 4 am, the hostels were evacuated. Police vans and ambulances had come to take us to the hospital. It took a few hours for the symptoms to subside,"said Arun Chourasia, another second officer. "Those who were asleep were the most affected. They were vomiting.”

Fourteen students were hospitalised and have been discharged. The institute has shut down for a week and exams have been postponed. Many students have moved to their friend’s places, but several, like Sayed Jaffri, have nowhere to go.

A college official said they were trying to make arrangements. At the end of the day, the leak does not seem to have rattled the boys. "We are prepared for things like this. On board, a lot of emergencies happen and we are trained to handle it,"said Sheldon D’Mello as he left for his brother's house.
(Inputs from Kunal Purohit)