17 students hurt, 70 taken ill after suspected chemical leak at Penang school

The scene at the school in Bayan Lepas where a chemical leak is said to have occurred.

GEORGE TOWN: Seventeen students are believed to be injured following what is said to be a chemical leak at a secondary school in Bayan Lepas, with 70 others feared to be affected by the vapours.

Authorities have yet to ascertain the source of the leak, although the school believes it may have occurred at one of the science labs.

State executive councillor Phee Boon Poh said unconfirmed reports showed that 70 students have taken ill after inhaling “vapour” from what he called a “chemical explosion”.

He said the authorities are scrambling for hazmat suits in order to get close to the scene although the situation is “under control”.

“It is a chemical leakage and explosion in this school. Red alert,” he said in a media group today.

An investigating officer from the fire and rescue department said a group of Form 4 students had been experimenting on iodine in the lab.

“Due to a lack of ventilation in the lab, about 20 students suffered from shortness of breath and non-stop coughing.

“As of now, 13 students are being given oxygen support by paramedics,” the officer said, adding that there had been no “explosions” or “chemical leaks” as reported.