JOHOR BARU - Dozens of schoolchildren were rushed to hospital after inhaling fumes emanating from chemicals dumped into a river in Johor, in the second such incident in a week.
As of late Monday, 44 people remained in warded at the Sultan Ismail Hospital (HSI) after experiencing symptoms including breathlessness and vomiting, Bernama news agency reported on Tuesday (March 12), citing Johor Health director Selahuddeen Abd Aziz.
The report said chemicals were found to have been poured into Sungei Kim Kim, in Pasir Gudang, at around noon on Monday. The victims were students at nearby SK Taman Pasir Putih and SMK Taman Pasir Putih, it said.
"As at 11pm, 29 people have been sent to health clinics nearby for examination, while 77 victims were referred to HSI, of whom 35 were warded for further treatment," Dr Selahuddeen were quoted as saying in a statement.
"Out of the 35, four patients were awarded in the intensive care unit... the total number of patients still awarded at HSI now stands at 44 (six in ICU and 38 in normal ward)."
Last week, dozens of people, including 18 students from the two aforementioned schools, were admitted to hospital after being exposed to hazardous gas from chemical waste that had been disposed of into Sungei Kim Kim.
Johor Menteri Besar Osman Sapian said on Facebook on Tuesday that the authorities had detained three suspects, two company owners and a worker, and that they will be charged soon.
Following the latest incident, the two schools have been closed again by the authorities, which advised the public to avoid the area.