Panic as Russia mistakenly reports 55 deaths from 'toxic gas'
MOSCOW (AFP) - Russians in Siberia were thrown into momentary panic on Friday when the emergencies ministry mistakenly issued a press release reporting 55 people had died from inhaling toxic chlorine gas.
Emergency services on Friday were holding scheduled drills across the vast country involving various disaster scenarios such as deadly explosions and fires.
The scenario concocted by officials for Tyumen - an industrial region of 3.6 million people about 1,700 kilometres east of Moscow - involved a toxic emission of chlorine gas at a waterworks.
But things went horribly wrong when the press office of Tyumen's emergencies ministry issued a statement reporting an "accident that resulted in the death of three workers and 52 members of the public."