At least two people were killed and four taken ill late on Monday night after benzimidazole gas leaked at a pharmaceutical company in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam.

The gas leakage happened at  Sainor Life Sciences Pvt Ltd, a pharma company located at the Jawahar Pharma City in Parawada area of the city.

Around 30 employees were working at the time of the mishap on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday,  according to police sources.

On inhaling benzimidazole gas, around six persons collapsed and were rushed to hospital.

The accident occurred at around  11.30 pm on Monday, the incident came to light only in the early hours of Tuesday, according to reports.

The two victims have been identified as Narendra and Gowri Shankar, while another four persons are being treated at the King George Hospital here. The condition of one of them is reported to be critical.

The city administration and police officials visited the pharma company to look into the mishap. The initial reports suggest technical issues behind the mishap.

“The situation is under control now. Two persons who died were workers and were present at the leakage site (at the time of the incident). Gas has not spread anywhere else,” senior police officer Uday Kumar was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

“The accident is confined to a department in which there is a reactor. There is no need to panic. The district collector has ordered an inquiry into the matter,” read the statement by the Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s office.

The incident comes in the wake of the gas leak mishap at the LG polymers facility here in May this year that killed 12 people around 500 persons had to be treated for the effects of styrene gas inhalation.

The gas reportedly started leaking around 2:30 am on May 7 when the workers were preparing to reopen the plant after it remained shut since the COVID-19 lockdown announced on March 25. The incident of styrene gas leakage occurred in RR Venkatapuram village, Gopalapatnam Mandal in Visakhapatnam District. It affected the surrounding villages namely Narava, BC Colony, Bapuji Nagar, Kampalapalem and Krishna Nagar.