London News & Search
More than 100 people have been treated after a suspected chlorine gas leak on a popular beach resulted in them suffering from breathing problems.
A “chemical mist” descended on the beach on Sunday afternoon causing people to vomit and leaving their eyes “burning” and throats “sore”.
The incident, at Birling Gap near Beachy Head in East Sussex, happened as holidaygoers were enjoying the Bank Holiday weekend sunshine.
First reports of the incident came in just before 5pm, and by Sunday night Eastbourne District General Hospital said it had treated 133 people.
Police said that the “unknown haze” travelled in from the sea and that investigations were underway to establish its origin.
Scores of people were evacuated and warned to stay away from the area as roads were closed and local residents told to shut their doors and windows.
One Twitter user said: “A lovely afternoon at Birling Gap cut short by a strange chemical mist flooding the area.
“Everyones eyes were streaming and throats sore.”
Sameer Jadhav wrote: “Birling Gap some weird gas leak. People crying. Ambulances called.
“Don’t go to Birling Gap at the moment.”
Dan Sankey said: “Beautiful afternoon at Birling Gap cut short by some weird mist, burning everyone’s eyes which led to the beach and cliff being evacuated.”
Another Twitter user added: “Nice day at Birling Gap beach turned into a nightmare.. some sort of chlorine gas leak has made my eyes red raw.”
By 10.30pm on Sunday night, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said 133 people were being “decontaminated” in hospital.
The RNLI said that “possibly some kind of gaseous fumes” had drifted over the scene and launched all-weather lifeboats over fears from the coastguard that people could be trapped on the beach.
A spokesman said: “We have been checking along the shoreline to try and ensure that everyone is safe.”
He said a “plume” had drifted across the area bringing “some sort of substance” with it which seemed to affect a number of people.
A Sussex Police spokesman said: “A ‘haze’ that is causing discomfort for people along the coast from Eastbourne to Birling Gap has prompted emergency services to warn people to stay away from the beaches and to keep doors and windows closed if living near the coast.
“The first report came from Birling Gap just before 5pm on Sunday where up to 50 people had been affected by irritation to eyes and throats.
“This seems to have been caused by an unknown haze coming in from the sea, but the source has not yet been established.”
London News & Search